Saturday, 25 April 2009

Late April snow conditions

A number of the grade one gullies such as Jacob's, Aladdin's, Central and the Couloir are still complete with steep snowy approaches to some of the popular classic rock routes.
Sunday, 19 April 2009

Stunning alpine weather








With the overnight frosts and clear blue skies conditions have been truly alpine. Many buttresses are bone dry for rock climbing and at the same time a number of the grade 1 and 2 gullies are still complete and have been in perfect winter climbing condition until late afternoon!
Today Fi took Gareth up Pygmy Ridge while I filmed. Despite the dazzling sun and warm afternoon temperatures the clear skies and overnight frost provide ideal neve for crampons on the approach up Central Gully. At the base of Pygmy Ridge we got out the rope and packed away the crampons and axes for an enjoyable climb up the lovely dry rocky ridge onto the plateau. After lunch Fi and I put the crampons back on and descended a banked and still frozen Jacob's Ladder to the foot of a sunny Mess of Pottage. With our axes and crampons stashed in our rucksacks and our big boots still on we headed up the line of Pot of Gold. This provided great fun and ideal alpine training on the now warm rock. Videos later...

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Easter Sunday's Coire an Lochain video

Sunday's winte climbing video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdcSJvxdMBE The date on the video should be the 12th of April and not the 11th!


The 'Half a Gully' off piste skiing video above can also be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7ZLQP8WGlk

A great steep ski descent video from Angel Peak on the same weekend can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDIasgLZobA

Sunday's rock climbing on Pygmy Ridge video can be found at ******** soon!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Under the Lochain ice!




Underwater ice video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8bQ5zV_7lE
Another sunny day with good icy snow though the SE wind was a lot stronger and colder than expected for our planned classic rock climbing route... We spent a few hours sheltered from the cold wind watching, videoing and photographing the coire's lochan ice sparkling and bobbing in the sun!
This gave us the ideal opportunity to field test the Pentax W60 camera's underwater and freezer proof capabilities and get some amazing still and HD video footage for the YouTube video above.

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Sunday, 12 April 2009

Good sun, snow ice, skiing and rock climbing!









Clear skies and a overnight frost meant fantastic snow ice conditions in the corries. Cramponning up Coire an Lochain's approach slopes was a joy and we had the place almost to ourselves.
The only two other climbers in the coire were Mark B and Al who headed up the Vent and the top of Milky Way while we headed up Y-Gully Right. There was good neve and ice on the steeps in Y-Gully and in the Vent which would take ice screws.
I underestimated the cornice in Y-Gully and spent some anxious moments hacking through the sun softened overhang while we moved together with runners...!
We had an early lunch on the sunny snowy plateau and videoed Mark and Al ;-)
Later we descended into Coire an t-Sneachda grateful of the crampons and climbed back up a still icy Central LH Gully and onto a nice dry Pygmy Ridge. A couple of climbers were in the Runnel which had good neve and ice in the chimney.
The snow surface was just starting to soften by late afternoon which provided just about enough grip for some skiers and boarders to descend half a gully and later Aladdin's Couloir. Climbing and ski descent videos later... See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdcSJvxdMBE for Coire an Lochain climbing conditions and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7ZLQP8WGlk for off piste skiers in Coire an t-Sneachda.
More info and Easter bunnies on Fi's blog at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/04/coire-lochain-and-coire-t-sneachda.html
Saturday, 11 April 2009

Quiet in the corries busy in Aviemore


A nice sunny day but with cool gusty winds. The overnight temperatures have been low and the snow icy on high shaded slopes and coire headwalls. The main gully lines are complete and were well frozen overnight. With a similar weather pattern over the next few days the snow on northerly aspects should remain frozen and icy until late on the day. Many of the 'Classic Rock' routes still have snowy approaches and finishes and could be icy on shaded north aspects.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Colder with snow on the tops

The weather's being pretty unsettled recently with some fresh snow on the tops...

I've just uploaded the video snow hole tour above filmed on the 1st April 2009. Most folk find it hard to believe how big some of the group expedition snow shelters can be in Scotland. If you can't see the YouTube video above try clicking the following link.
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8fFGKISVY4
Monday, 6 April 2009

Friday's 'Mix of Climbing' video

The 'Mix of Climbing' YouTube video from the 3rd April 2009 can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD8zM31HO4c A classic sunny spring day ice climbing and rock climbing in the Cairngorms. An early start and five routes climbed. The Runnel, Fingers Ridge, Aladdin's Couloir, Central Gully LH and Pygmy Ridge. With blue skies, good firm neve and ice in the gullies and lovely rough dry rock on the cliffs, condition were near perfect for summer and winter climbing! For more details and photos see http://www.talisman-activities.co.uk/blog/2009/04/sun-fun-rock-and-ice.html and http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/04/mix-of-climbing-at-cairngorm.html

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Friday, 3 April 2009

Sun, fun, rock and ice









We had a great day ice climbing and rock climbing in the sun. As a bonus we had Coire an t-Sneachda almost to ourselves, found lots of gear and only saw one other party climbing - a happy George Mc from the 'Lodge' sitting at the top of Pygmy Ridge with his client in the sun!
An early sunny start saw us climbing up a lovely icy Runnel, down the Goat Track, up Fingers Ridge, then down an icy Aladdin's Couloir, then on good neve up Central Gully and finally on and up a sunny Pygmy Ridge.
Lots more photos of me and more info on Fi's blog at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/04/mix-of-climbing-at-cairngorm.html
During the climbing I took lots of video clips which I'll put together into a short film and upload later.
Thursday, 2 April 2009

Central Gully video

The YouTube video from can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvRHOrqll48

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Another fun climbing day





A lot greyer and windier on the walk in than we expected though the skies soon cleared and the sun again shone - still a cold southerly wind though.
It was the last day of our Winter Mountaineering course so Sue and Fi joined Ken, Angus and myself for the climbing. We headed up to the Trident gully area on softish snow very wary of the big heavy cornice above Central gully...! The snow in Central Gully was a lot softer than the snow in Jacob's Ladder yesterday though still stable and pleasant to climb on.
We all headed up the gully in about four pitches avoiding big cornice by traversing right onto the rib at the top. More photos on Fi's blog at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/04/weather-wasnt-quite-blue-skies-and.html

After packing away the rope and lunch on the plateau we headed over to look at the impressive snow holes in Coire Domhain and the uniquely sculptured outside loo - more photos and videos later!
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