Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Not the best day...





Woke up after a crap nights sleep with a head cold caught off of my wee boy. Rich had forgotten his boots so I could have had an extra hour in bed whilst he fetched them. The poor weather had come in in force with wind and snow but we went to Ben Nevis anyway.
Lots of freshly blown snow drifting as we walked in and lots of teams giving up and walking out (including a team who had escaped injury after being avalanched at the base of Vanishing Gully).
It was obvious to us that anything involving crossing a sheltered snow slope was out so after chatting to folk at the CIC we headed towards the cascades only to get avalanched just after crossing the Ciste path.
We were on a low angle (20-25 degree) slope with rock above and grass below, about 30m long and 5m wide at its maximum and we were fairly near the edge when it slid breaking up around us into large blocks and taking us 8-10ft onto flat grass. The crown wall was about 50cm at its highest point.
After that experience we carried on to the main CIC hut cascade and had a chat with Mike from Abacus who was about to warm up his clients on the next fall to the right. I geared up and led the main cascade (very featured- steep but stepped, some brittle ice and some slush too) and was about 3/4 of the way up when the sea king buzzed close above me.
It soon became obvious that something had happened below us and just a little further away from the hut. After we abseiled back down we found out that a solo climber passing below the 3rd cascade away from the hut had also tripped a small slab but unfortunately he had been carried over the boulder field and outcrops below and was seriously injured.
An instructor working for Alan Kimber saw the accident and carried out first aid and raised the alarm. Other passersby also came to help and the Lochaber MR Team were soon on the scene (well done to the sea king crew- grotty conditions, spindrift and strong gusts of wind).
The fresh wind blown snow has fallen burying the surface hoar as an unstable layer creating potentially dangerous avalanche conditions, see the SAIS report. Just as I'm posting a mate in the Glencoe team is off to another avalanche incident on the Buachaille. Take care folks.
The video gives a flavour of the weather today.

5 comments:

CLIFF LOWTHER said...

Pleased you are ok mate!

Alan said...

Me too! With the 2 deaths on Creag Na Tulaich twas a bad day. Al

Gordon said...

Hi Alan

Thought I would check up on what you were up to and a bit horrified to see that Wed was even worse than I realised. You may know that I was out with Kenny on Organ Pipe Wall at Beinn Udlaidh (my first V.5!). Very relieved to know you and Rich are okay. Strange we were both doing a climb with same name. Stay safe and see you in March.

Gordon said...

Me again. See you mentioned no 6 gully on Aonach Dubh. Did it on Tues. It was brilliant.

Alan said...

Glad you have been putting those new boots to use Gordon.... see you in March!