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


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