Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dr Janis, Coire an t-Sneachda


Ron and I went into Coire an t-Sneachda to climb in the late afternoon sun. Our route choice was Dr Janis which was one of the few VS routes that Ron had not climbed in the corrie.
The route started off a bit vegetated but the climbing improved as we climbed up ending with good climbing up a steep corner despite the odd bit of loose rock when one of Ron's holds crumbled! When I unpacked my rope and checked it for damage, I was disappointed to find that it had been cut by the rock fall. I'm glad though that it was the rope that was hit and not me!
I really can't believe it's only March and I'm out rock climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda!
More pictures from Ron on his blog here.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Afterthought Arete

A lovely day to be out and about in the Cairngorms.
More photos and info on Ron's website here.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Coire Sputan Dearg and snowhole trip

On Monday Ron and I went off on an expedition in search of snow.
We walked over towards Ben MacDui to find some snowholes with lovely views towards Loch Etchachan and picked out a comfortable one as our base. The evening was calm and dry meaning that we could sit out on the grass to cook supper then enjoy watching the stars sparkle in the clear sky.
The snow froze up over night and the little lochan below us had a fresh layer of ice covering its surface. We walked over to Coire Sputan Dearg to find some gullies to play in before the sun softened the snow to mush.
It was great fun - we went down Main Spout, up Anchor Gully, back down Glissade Gully and finally up Red Gully and back on to the plateau for lunch. The snow was great, soft but not too soft and there were no cornices. Anchor Gully had a little crack running across it but it was just a step to get over it and Red Gully had a little rock step just where the gully broke off to the left.
The rock climbs all looked very appealing as well!
So back to the snowhole site for a cup of tea and some cake before walking back.

More on Ron's blog here

Monday, 5 March 2012

Creag Meagaidh - in search of more snowy steep ground

Carron and I went to Creag Meagaidh in search of some more steep snowy ground for Carron to practise for her upcoming winter mountain leader assessment.
We chose to solo up Easy Gully on great snow for crampons but about half way up our way was barred by what could only be described as a crevasse. I peered over and it seemed to drop a good few metres to the rock below. The break in the snow stretched right across the gully and would have been entertaining to cross had we got out a rope, another axe and started setting up belays. As this wasn't really our plan for the day, we climbed back down thinking about how best to move in descent.
After our first lunch down at the lochan we walked up to the Window for another lunch and some views.
It was nice to bump into Kate and Florence who were also out looking at winter ml skills. Carron had met Kate on a recent course - it's a small world!
Maybe some more photos from Carron later?
Meanwhile Ron was out last night and today at the snowhole we stayed in on Thursday and more on his blog here once he has updated it!

Friday, 2 March 2012

In search of snow and steep ground

Carron and I walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda in search of a snowy-ish way up to the plateau for the start of our two day trip. We climbed up half-a-gully which was mostly snowy but with a couple of loose rocky sections near the top. Once up on the plateau we wandered over to Coire Domhain to have a look at the snowholes only to find that they were lacking roofs.
Our plan was to find somewhere good to snowhole and Garbh Uisge Beag was our first option and we arrived there only to find there was no sign of any snowholes. Convinced that there must be some deep in the snow, we prodded about with the avalanche  probes and found one then Carron found another by  falling into it. One of these had collapsed a bit and both had water dripping in places. We tried further down and found a third hole which was drier so that was home for the night.
It was still quite early so we went back out with lighter rucksacks to do some micro-navigation picking various odd points to get to. Then it was back to the snowhole for supper. Later in the evening we were surprised to hear a voice at the entrance to our snowhole and in popped Jon who was out with a winter ml group doing night navigation. And even more of a coincidence was that one of Carron's friends, Chris, was in the group too.
We had a leisurely start in the morning. A little snow had fallen overnight, the avalanche probes left up outside were all rimed, the old snow was much firmer underfoot and the rocks and boulders were very slippery as we crossed back over towards Ben MacDui and down the Coire an Lochain ridge.
There were lots of ptarmigan about and some mountain hares which were all very conspicuous in their winter colours and we found quite a bit of snow mould, the white cobwebby fungus that occurs when snow lies for a long time on ground that was not already frozen according to my google search.

Some more pictures from Carron