Thursday, 30 October 2008

More Winter Pictures

A few more pictures from Wednesday. My broadband connection is now working after six weeks so a lot more regular updates...!

Good weather and good early season winter climbing

After the winter storms of the past few days the winds dropped and the skies cleared on Wednesday.
This early in the season without having had several months of cold weather and severe frosts we knew the ground would likely still be soft, wet and unfrozen under any fresh deep cover. We also knew that certain winter rock routes that didn't rely on frozen turf or ice could be good sport if wintry enough - and they were.
Quite a few other climbers had the same idea and the Northern Corries felt more like a February weekend (less the winter skills groups) rather than midweek in October!
The buttresses certainly looked good and were lightly rimed though the sodden approach trail through deep drifts and the flooded boulder-field gave us an idea of how well frozen some of the easier gullies and turfy lines would or rather wouldn't be! Fortunately everyone seemed to be making sensible route choices and we didn't see anyone climbing the gullies lines or hear much loose rock fall...!
We climbed Hidden Chimney Direct and saw climbers on the Message, Pot of Gold, No Blue Skies? Original Summer Route, White Magic, Pygmy Ridge, Fingers Ridge, Stirling Bomber and no doubt quite a few other routes.
Generally the climbing was on snowed up rock with very little if any usable ice or neve and extra care was required especially on easier ground with any of the granite blocks and vegetation as they were not well frozen in place if at all...!!!
All in all one of the best early season days for a number of years and it looks the winter climbing and even the skiing conditions will continue to improve over the next few days with the Lecht ski area opening it's doors this coming weekend.
I'll upload a number of other photos once I access a broadband connection later this afternoon.
Monday, 27 October 2008

Low level snow

This morning dawned with low level snow which made some of the high level roads difficult or impassible. The Cairngorm ski area was stormbound although the road was open in the afternoon for photos and snowball fights. It looks like the temperatures are to plummet over the coming week with hard overnight frosts and a lot more snow being forecast. All this is great news as a sustained high level freeze should help to gradually freeze the soft wet ground and start to buildup ice for winter climbing. It will take time though...!
Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Winter returns yet again

We walked into Coire an t-Sneachda today for a look. It appeared wintry but the climbs were not as good as they looked. Up the Goat Track (path not gully!) and onto the plateau to have a chat with the climbers we had seen on Pygmy Ridge who had a fun day out but weren't claiming it as a winter ascent.
On then to the summit of Cairngorm which was a bit blustery and rime was beginning to form on the weather station. We had some fun with the snow drifts on the east side of the mountain and dug out our first snowhole of the season!
Temperatures look a bit up and down over the next few days with extemely strong winds but fingers crossed, this is a taste of the winter to come.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Winter has arrived for the time being!

A promising start to the forthcoming season. There has been a morning frost over the past few days and today the Cairngorms were looking especially wintry due to the recent snowfall, so fingers crossed for a good winter season to come.

Cameron and Gerry on Tower Ridge

Cameron and Gerry in the Tower Gap!
The last few weeks have not been as nice as hoped for rock climbing though we have had a few days out climbing in Glen Nevis and on Tower Ridge. Gerry was on a rock climbing course with us last autumn and came back with his son Cameron for a day on Tower Ridge. Despite the mist and heavy summit rain we made good time on the ridge and had a great day out on the Scottish classic route. Despite the grim forecast the weather looked promising on the walk in. On the route visibilty was very poor so photo opportunities were limited!!
Fi climbing the crux overhang on Kinloss Grooves
Since our return from the Alps I have been having major problems with my phone lines... I've now got my phone connected and my old BT number back but still no Internet connection or broadband... So apologies for lack of updates or photos though I'm sure that will change once I have my broadband working again!
In the meantime Fi has been adding lots of photos to her summer alpine diary on her blog at
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