Saturday 11 February 2017

The first week of winter?

It felt like the first proper week of winter and I was mountaineering with Ross, Mikaela and Jade working for Glenmore Lodge.
Day 1 is always a shakedown day and it was wild! We beat our way into the Ciste Gully reviewing basic walking skills, avalanche awareness and went up Gully No.2. Then to get out of the notch we had to link arms and stagger sideways against gusts of over 80mph (it was 97mph on top of Cairngorm at the time).
Day 2 we went into Coire an t Sneachda to introduce snow anchors and bit of travelling through steeper ground up to windy col. Avalanche awareness was again a theme and we did some navigation over Cairngorma and down windy Ridge to the Cas Car Park.
Day 3 and my experienced mountaineers wanted a route so we took the whole mountaineering course to the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn which helped us dodge the worst of the wind, let the team use some mountaineering rope work and more navigation to descend. Great light on the way down too.
Day 4 and it was of to Creagan Cha No. A windy walk meant that we lowered 2 of the team in to get the ropes down for the other pair of us to abseil. Then the guys did a stirling job leading a pitch each with one axe out of the easiest variation of Duke's Rib.
Day5 and it was my 31st day of 'winter' this year and my first sunny, windless but snowy one. The guys took themselves up Fiacaill ridge using a variety of rope techniques and negotiated the crowds! There was just time to look at a last snow anchor on the way down.
Half Term holiday weeks approach and we have a mixture of soft powder on steep ground and windslab in terrain traps and on lee slopes. Ridges and buttresses may be a good idea for the non 'wads' seeking super steep ground. Take care out there folks.
Wild Monday

 Digging Tuesday

 A route for wednesday

 Abseiling thursday

 Fiacaill friday

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