Saturday, 15 December 2018

Wild for winter intro

Delighted to take Dimitar out today for an Intro to Winter day. Over a coffee we did some of the important work for the day: looking at the weather and avalanche forecasts. The weather forecast was "challenging" for today, with 50-80mph winds forecast for the level of the Cairngorm ski car park, with >100mph winds on top of Cairngorm, as well as heavy snow forecast for later in the day. The avalanche forecast was generally Low (1/5), but with increased danger forecast on certain aspects later in the day.  We planned to try and find some shelter from the wind in the Ciste Gully, which worked pretty well, giving us just enough respite from the wind to look at some of the core skills needed to journey around the mountains in winter: use of the winter boot as a tool to kick steps; using the ice axe for balance, support and to stop a little slip becoming slide (self-belay); walking safely in crampons up, down and across slopes. It was just starting to snow lightly back in Aviemore, with some heavy snow forecast overnight.  Thanks Dimitar for working hard today in difficult conditions, our next day out will feel much easier I'm sure!...........

Footwork skills without crampons........

....and with crampons!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Cold & sunny

On Monday I was out in the Northern Corries of Cairngorm. Conditions were excellent in Coire an Lochain, with firm snow and frozen turf giving reliable placements. We climbed Ewen Buttress III,4 then topped out into sunshine, light winds and a snow-covered Cairngorm plateau.Lots of teams out making the most of the lovely weather, climbing, walking and ski-touring.
Ewen Buttress

Cairngorm Plateau

Fiacall Ridge

Good conditions

Thursday, 6 December 2018

A good start......

Without wanting to jinx it (!) winter has got off to a great start up here in the Highlands, with plenty of folk out making the most of early season walking, climbing and ski-touring conditions. I have been lucky enough to have had three days of play out on the hills recently, climbing at the Cairngorm crags of Creagan Cha No and the ever-popular Coire an t Sneachda. Bit of a thaw going on tonight and tomorrow but then cold again next week.

Given the good start I've scheduled in some Open Courses looking at winter hill-walking skills, have a look at the links below, and get in touch ASAP if you're interested in booking on.....

Saturday 15th December: One day Winter Taster/Intro

Saturday 29th/Sunday 30th December: Two-day Winter Hill-walking Course 

Strath Nethy from Cairngorm
Winter Light

Climbing: Duke's Rib, Creagan Cha No II
Climbing: Top of Ziggy Grooves III

Climbing: The Haston Line crux III, 4
Climbing: Between Hidden Chimney & Jacob's Edge, Mess of Potage