Thursday, 9 April 2009

Wetter winter mountaineering

Today we went to Coire na Ciste on Ben Nevis to look at some winter mountaineering skills. Their was evidence of recent avalanche activity all around the coire. After revising walking and self belay/self arrest we traversed the top of Moonlight Gully Buttress heading for Ledge Route. Taking this route leaves you with a very narrow crossing of No. 5 Gully. This was useful today as it was like crossing a busy road only with avalanches instead of traffic! They were clearly visible from a long way below so we were able to cross safely. The route was mostly wet rock but gave us a good opportunity to look at moving quickly and safely on mountaineering ground before heading down the Red Burn. Winds on the upper part of the route were high and the snow still deep and wet. A great deal of wet snow plastered to upper buttresses and existing ice, there is a surprising depth on the plateau in places, it would need a few days of good cold weather to freeze properly though. Hopefully a brighter day tomorrow.

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