Saturday, 21 January 2012
Winter Skills in the Cairngorms
Today, I was working for Mountain Motion over on the East coast. Rich, Al and I took Moffat MRT on a training day covering a wide range of winter skills. Rich and Al took an advanced team apiece while I worked with the probationers. The members of my group had either done little or nothing in the winter, so it was great to introduce them to the very wild conditions that we are currently experiencing up here. We took the Funicular up the hill, as this gave us quick access to some snow. We then navigated over to Ciste Mhearad, where we could get a little shelter from the wind. This location gave us the opportunity to practice moving on differing slopes and gradients, with and without crampons, cutting steps to cross the icy sections. We also had a really useful avalanche session. The group were particularly keen to learn more about this. After lunch in a snow hole, we tried to practice some self-arresting but the weather made this unproductive. Instead, we navigated back over to the top lift, only to find that the Funicular was closed due to high winds. So we walked back down the hill - a great opportunity for consolidating our use of crampons and a walking axe.