Friday, 3 April 2015

Dreich on Dorsal Arete

It was quiet in Glencoe as we left the car park today and we soon overtook the only other pair on heading in to Stob Coire nan Lochan. well before we hit the Coire we were wading in deep porridgy snow- thanks to Michael from the other team for taking turn at the front to put the trail in and save my legs! Although the SAIS were reporting snow above 650m we were getting rained on right to the base of Dorsal Arete (more like 900m) and after that it felt like being in a sauna- and unlike the SAIS observer our Goretex was not keeping us dry as we 'boiled in our bags'!
Incredible amounts of snow up there for April. Boomerang Gully looks completely banked out from below. The first pitch of Dorsal is pretty much missing- buried and almost uniformly fading into Broad Gully, higher up where it narrows there were soft snow aretes that were waist and even chest high in places.
Ruairidh and Nathan swung leads on the route including the fin whilst I soloed offering advice and tips. There was a cool breeze as I topped out and a hint of the sun trying to burn through but soaked through we were glad to make our way back down into the shelter of the core to dekit. Following the rim needed a little care as the light was very, very flat and the cornices wet, soft and drooping. Max reported hearing some avalanches on Ben Nevis today and I'm betting they were caused by collapsing cornices and with more mild weather forecast they are worth bearing in mind over the weekend.
Well done to Ruairidh who has been out for 4 days with me over the winter and has used his summer leading training to move into winter climbing  and thanks to Nathan for coming along to be on the other end of the rope.
 Spot the climbers in the mist far below
 Pitch 1 where are you?
 Ruaraidh finds some climbing on the right
 More snow
 Steeper and narrower
 Yet more snow
 Fin fun
 Leaving that last runner as long as possible!
 Warm work
'Left a bit…' 

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