Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cairngorm expedition

I was out with Graham, Anthony and David for the expedition part of their five day Talisman Mountaineering course.
We walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda in the best kind of weather you could ask for. Crampons on and we were off up half a gully then a bit of a walk towards our snowhole site just below Ben Macdui. Navigation was all about what we could see though the snowed over streams and lochans gave us something to think about when comparing summer nav with what you find in winter.
We made comfortable snowholes in which to spend the night then continued our journey this morning to Ben Macdui and on to summit Cairngorm.
 walking in to Coire an t-Sneachda
 half a gully
 just a great place to be

 a wee dram!
 full moon, snowhole view
early morning, snowhole view
blue sky enticed me out in the morning
 looking across to Cairngorm
 Braeriach in the background
 Ben MacDui

looking across to Ben MacDui

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Out and about around Carn Gorm

On Wednesday I drove down to Aberfeldy to work on Stuart Johnston's Climbmts winter mountain leader training course for the expedition.
We walked in to the hills above Glen Lyon and found a suitable snowhole site close to Carn Gorm. The firm snow was excellent for walking on and it was crampons practically all day on both Thursday and Friday. It was hard work digging though but the guys soon had a comfortable four man snowhole and I had a little Fi-sized snowhole! Overnight it was exceedingly cold but no wind and an almost full moon made it a lovely night.
Carn Gorm and Meall Garbh were "bagged" on our way back out.

 spot the snowholes - under the cornice on the right!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Another lovely day on Cairngorm

I was out today with Liz and John on their second day with Talisman Mountaineering. We walked up Sron an Aonach to Ciste  Mhiread. Navigation was to be what we were looking at for the first part of the day so a lot of imagination was needed to envisage poor visibility!
We found some decent large snowholes to explore then dug some emergency shelters. Atilla, one of the Cairngorm Rangers was checking out the snowholes and the cornices. It was a shame to find some candles and matches that had been left in one of the snowholes so we brought them out with us.
After the digging, we walked up to the summit of Cairngorm enjoying the amazing views and the strange snow underfoot where the rime and sastrugi had melted and refrozen.
Another great day out on Cairngorm in the sun.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Winter skills in the mist then the sun

For the second day of the Talisman weekend winter skills course we were concentrating on navigation. The weather worked well for us as we walked up around Coire an Lochain and the mist came in making navigation skills necessary. As we reached the plateau and navigated our way down to Coire Domhain, the mist cleared giving fantastic views. We continued on up to the summit of Cairngorm letting Chris catch up with Susan on the number of Munros they have both climbed. Nathalie is about to head off on her next adventure to trek up the Pacific Coast using her skills learned in Scotland to help with the snowy bits as she treks across the Sierra Nevada.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sliding about in the sun and lots more

Nathalie, Susan, Chris and I enjoyed a lovely day out today on the first day of the Talisman weekend winter skills course. Sunshine, no wind, strange shaped snow drifts for digging in to and climbing up, great snow for sliding about on as we practiced ice axe arrest and so much more.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Snowshoe-ing and an ice surprise

Ron and I went out for a walk with the snowshoes and a little bit of climbing gear for an exploring day at Cairngorm. We were surprised to find a little gully with a rather nice icefall and some interesting little snowy gullies and icy steps.
On the way back, the drifting snow had created some fascinating drifts and cornices.
More from Ron on his blog to follow.

Friday, 8 February 2013

A little look at Lurcher's

A bit of a bimble to look at the ice on Lurcher's Crag today. There was a surpising amount of drifted snow about making walking quite hard work. The two climbers ahead of me did a great job of trail breaking, thanks Hannah and George!
I walked in to the Lairg Ghru to try to get some pictures then up towards Sron Na Lairig for a look from the other side. After ploughing through more drifts I reached the ridge, stopped for lunch enjoyed the views and headed back down.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Navigation, snowshoeing and snow shelters

A snowshoeing and navigation day for Richard and Ab on the last day of the Talisman mountaineering course. We stayed relatively low moving around easily with the snowshoes to find some drifts that were great for digging snow shelters.