Tuesday 4 March 2014

A wee bitty breezey on Fiacaill ridge

The Met and MWIS have been arguing a lot recently. Woke up to snow at the Lodge this morning which wasn't expected and there was a lot of discussion about plan Bs, Cs and Zs at breakfast amongst the live in Instructors. During the morning meeting the cloud rolled back and we could see snow being piled in from the SW over the Cairngorms. So it was suck it and see on my original Plan A with the guys today. We headed into Coire an t Sneachda rather than up the end of the Fiacaill as we were already being pummelled by winds and know it would be worse on the crest of the ridge. Just as the ridge changes aspect on the way into the Coire there is a rocky line to its crest and we made our way up that on good scoured neve. The Ridge itself was a touch snowy and blowy and we didn't hang around but took the Grade I route before scuttling down to the top of the Goat Track where, bizarrely there was almost no wind. However by the time we reached 'Windy' Col between the top of the Mess of Pottage and .1141 we were being knocked down and almost crawling. Then Andy's crampon broke and bits of it actually blew away. This made getting down from .1141  little more interesting than usual but we still had time to admire the sastrugi forming on the Cas Ridge and at its base dig a couple of snow profiles to see what was happening in the fresh windslabby snowpack (columns failed on isolation in 2 layers 40 and 60cm down). A pleasant sunny walk back to the car park ended a fine day out.
Now what will we do tomorrow….?
 Footprints filling in in minutes
Plume blowing from Fiacaill of Coire an t Sneachda
Easy, sheltered, scoured
Simon on steeper ground
Much windier on top!
On Fiacaill ridge

The first wee gully
Rope on
Topping out
Selfie at the top
Cornices above Coire an t Sneachda, Fiacaill Ridge behind
Picking up after another knockdown blast
100ft plumes of snow blowing up the Coire face
The Cas Ridge
Flowing snow
Cake time!

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