Monday 11 January 2016

Doing the back stroke in the Cairngorms

Today was the first day of a Winter Lead Climbing Course I'm working for Glenmore Lodge. Its quite snowy in the Cairngorms. Its was quite snowy in the car park. The random trails leading out of the car park took a while to hit the footpath because it was pretty snowy on the walk in. And it was very snowy in Sneachda. Snow was filling in footprints of people only a few hundred metres above us and there were deep drifts behind every rise, rock and bump making the walk in a bit harder than usual.
The wind in our faces, the fresh drifting and the amount of snow visible confirmed my plan not to go to the main crags. Facial Buttress held possibilities but not at the grade I was after so we climbed one of the lines to the right of the Hurting onto Fiacaill Ridge. Did I mention is was quite snowy? Floundering my way up grooves, wallowing onto ribs to try to escape the deep soft stuff and heavy snow showers seemed to be building more. Around 3 I heard a funny rumble but though little of it. Apparently that was a large slab avalanche on the Goat Track with an 18 inch crown wall I'm told. No real surprise there then, except for the folk who triggered it on their way down.
The lads did well building their own belays and perfecting their wade, wallow and floundering techniques. Tomorrow's forecast looks.... unhelpful....
 Hmmmm, what would be a good decision on a day like this then?
 Kieran remembering what winter is all about
 A bit blowy and snowy
 The other Kieran wading
 Nick on the adjacent line, cheerfully resigned!
 Finding the fun bits
You have to laugh!!

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