Thursday, 29 January 2009

Aonach Mor and Creag Meagaidh

On Tuesday we took the gondola up to Aonach mor to look at snow anchors, ropework and then put them into scenarios that we may come across. Lots of snow being blown around the summit area and the top of the Nid area, several skiers and boarders making use of the snow on the piste.

The last two days we were on our overnight expedition to the Creag Meagaidh Nature Reserve. We set of from Moy Forest and headed up to the pleatau. Whilst walking up Alt Coire Choille-rais we decided to alter our route to avoid any wind slab and potential avalanche areas. There was lots of wind slab around and winds were gusting quite high as we got higher. Creag Meagaidh is a great venue for practising navigation, we were in the cloud line most of the time which gave us a great opportunity to test eachother. After a moderate walk-in, we found a ideal place for a snow hole and started digging. 3 hours later we had a huge snow hole and ate lots of food. We then went out for a 2 hour night navigation exercise and then headed to bed. In the morning we headed down to the base of Coire Ardair for a scope of the routes and headed back to the van. Lots of snow being blown around, gully's all loaded with fresh snow, some of the ice routes are forming but thin looking in areas.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Winter Mountain Leader Training

Today was a journey day up into Stob Coire Nan Lochan in Glencoe. We approached via the footpath leading from the car park, walked up to the corrie then took on the East ridge to the summit. From the summit we headed down the North ridge back to the corrie floor and back out via the footpath. The weak occlusion moving over Scotland brought quite cloudy conditions and relatively calm wind, until we reached the summit, where we got a break in the cloud and the wind picked up. It was clear that there has been alot of snow blown around in several directions over the last few days, really loading some sheltered slopes with wind slab. The crags are looking plastered, it just getting up to the routes which may be hard work. Not many teams on the hill here, passed one team who had climbed up Dinner Time Buttress and another team were practicing self arrests in Broad Gully?!?!?! Then they made a start on Dorsal Arete as we descended from the corrie.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Winter Skills Part 2 and Snow!!!

Today Shona, Grant and John were on their second day of a 2 day winter skills course. Yesterday they were out with Big Al , he took them in to Stob Coire nan Lochain and looked at movement on the snow using the boot and axe with and without crampons, emergency snow shelters, snow profiles and a walking Rutch block test.

Today, after checking weather and avalanche forecasts, we headed up into the Mamore's to put the skills they learnt into practice. As the weather was very wild we planned to keep moving as much as possible, with only short stops to look at navigation and the snow pack to help the guys understand more about what is going on under foot. We walked from Mamore Lodge up to the col between Na Gruagaichean and Stob Coire a' Chairn then walked the ridge north west to the summit. We descended to the col just below Am Bodach and decided to head back down as the wind and snow was very powerful and the group were getting tired with wading through the snow. We descended back into the Corie and walked back to the Ice Factor for a hot chocolate.

Lots of snow was falling on the hills, large amounts of wind slab accumulating in the sheltered spots and it was very cold in the high winds providing some hard packed snow in exposed areas.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Winter Walking around Glen Lyon

Yesterday Lorenzo, Jamie and I headed into the mountains in search of snow and fine weather. Yesterday was foul, driving rain and sleet, high winds and cold temperatures. We headed out from Kinloch Rannoch, and due to a last minute change of plan (we were told stalking was going on where we were heading) we headed to a wee bothie at GR673,555 (sheet 51). On arrival we realised we couldn't spend the night here (it was wet, windy and cold inside), we headed down to the Glenmore Bothy. At this point the rain was heavy, water levels were high and one member of our group mis-calculated their jump and landed in a fast flowing burn!! Not a great start. We arrived at the bothy and ate and slept. In the middle of the night Lorenzo became very sick, so in the morning Jamie and I decided to do the walk and Lorenzo was happy to walk out to the car. Jamie and I headed from the bothie up to Meall na Aighean, then up to Carn Mairg, across to Meall Garbh and finally to Carn Gorm. We descended via Glen Sassunn and got back to the car before dark. 4 Munroe's in the two days. Today's weather was very cold, we experienced lots of hard packed snow ice on the tops as well as some layers of wind slab around. As there were quite high winds over night, there was quite a bit of riming present too.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Newtyle Quarry

Today Donald, Ewan, Tam, Ants, Graham and I headed this unique climbing venue. The aim of the day was to do some dry tooling on as many routes as possible. We started at Door Jam Slab, I climbed Grooviliscious (D4) and Roofiliscious (D5+) to get warmed up, then headed over to Happy Hooker Wall and climbed Happy Hooker (D7) and Va Va Voom (D8). By this time I was totally boxed and could barely hold my Irn Bru up! We all then went into the Tube where Donald and Ewan climbed Fast and the Furious (D10+) which just looked too hard for me in my current state so I left it for another day. Very cold driving back, very icy roads and lots of precipitation around Fort William. Snowing up on the tops! Pictures on the way.