Over the weekend I was at Glenmore Lodge at the provider's seminar for Mountain Leader Training Scotland as an SPA provider and on Sunday was learning all about the new Climbing Wall Supervisors Award. On Monday I led Derek up Opening Break (IV,5) on the Mess of Pottage over in the Cairngorms. On Tuesday Kenny and I started up the winter Version of Genie (V,7) in Coire an t Sneachda. A routefinding error saw us wander onto Salvation (V,7) which finally defeated us and we headed back to the coire floor still happy after a good pitch or two of hard mixed climbing. A bit warmer today and the crags are stripping back again but its been a good start to the winter climbing season.
Several parties have been in the Ice Factor asking me about conditions locally and in the Cairngorms. Its worth noting that whilst the current spate of hard mixed routes have come in and gone out of condition quite quickly, many easier routes (especially gullys) need more of a build up to avoid grovelling on loose rock that there isnt yet enough buildup of snow and ice to cover or hold together. It only takes a day like today of thaw conditions to strip of a lot of the apparently healthy covering of early season snow so be careful out there.