Sunday, 21 March 2010

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Yet another snowhole expedition!



There's been a continuous thaw at lower levels making the approach wade to our snowhole site near Braeriach tiring and wet without snowshoes or skis. It was also forecast to be very windy (gusting to 75 MPH) and with an overnight FL of 1200 metres!
Fortunately despite the snowholes being situated at under 800 metres they remained sheltered, well frozen and dry overnight so everyone had a relatively comfortable night...! Yesterday despite the thaw the ski and ice climbing conditions looked OK from mid mountain upwards though some of the large icefalls in the Lairig Ghru were showing evidence of ice and rock collapse and the crags were looking blacker this morning.
Photos and video later...
Monday, 15 March 2010

Ropework today


A very wet start before becoming bright and showery. We spent the day looking at basic ropework and snow belays.
We're away on another snowhole expedition tomorrow...
Fi's updated her blog from last weeks adveturous training courses here.
Sunday, 14 March 2010

Whiteout and windy on the plateau





We headed into Coire an t-Sneachda to practise crampon work up the Goat Track and micro navigation to the Domhain snowholes on the plateau for lunch. Strong gusty winds provided an additional challenge as we headed up the steep coire headwall.
We saw quite a few large groups of climbers in the coire but on the plateau we only actually saw three other people as they topped out from the climbs!
It was snowing quite heavily at plateau level today but raining down at the carpark. There's spring snow below 800 metres and crusty rimed snow above 900 metres. Climbing conditions were described as still quite good on popular climbs that had been dug out...
Saturday, 13 March 2010

Milder with spring snow



The weather has been a lot milder recently with a slow thaw on the lower hills and spring snow for ski touring. Higher on Cairngorm the snow cover is still excellent and the cliffs still completely white. Today was the first day of another winter skills/mountaineering course and conditions were great for ice axe braking and digging emergency snow shelters. We looked at step kicking, footwork and balance while climbing up through the jumble of sagging, creeping cornices and avoiding falling into the numerous crevasses!
Thursday, 11 March 2010

Firmer snow

Good sunny weather with harder snow until today (Thursday) After a few melt freeze cycles the climbing conditions have become good but to the detriment of the off-piste powder skiing conditions. Still good on piste but with teeth clattering off...!

video

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sunny snowhole expedition



A good two days snowholing in the Lairig Ghru with Steven, Tamsin and Adrian.
A tiring walk in on Sunday trail breaking through the deep soft snow but by the evening the skies cleared and the snow firmed up overnight. Today it was blue skies, sun block, shades and easy walking on the firm snow surface until the snow started to soften around midday. YouTube snowhole video later!
Saturday, 6 March 2010

Still plenty of snow but milder recently




The past few days have been milder with the snow gently thawing below 900 metres. Colder and clearer weather returned this afternoon and this should firm up the snowpack. Despite the milder weather and drizzle at low levels the mountain crags are still very white. The forecast for next week is for calm sunny days and frosty nights. Today we were looking at winter belays and ropework and tomorrow we're off on an overnight snowhole expedition...
Friday, 5 March 2010

HD Ski video!

The full sized HD version of the above YouTube ski video from the 3rd and 4th March can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RhFvmIRXvU

If you ski at Cairngorm then click here for the 'Save the Ciste' chairlift campaign website - please sign...

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Another great ski day!




Another good ski day up until early afternoon when the forecast front moved in bringing poor vis and light snow flurries. Despite the limited lower uplift this morning the queues in the Ciste were OK with great skiing on the Ciste gullies, East Wall's (west facing).
After lunch we put the skins on and headed up to Cairngorms summit before some great off piste skiing down the back and beyond. As promised to Fi we then headed over to 'Windy Col' by the side of the Mess of Pottage to find some completely virgin powder slopes just below the cornices - not sure if she actualy realised where I meant!
There were sign of old avalanche debris from the collapse of the large overhung cornices just to the left of Opening Break on the Mess of Pottage. Otherwise the slopes appeared OK and the cornice collapse hadn't actualy triggered the lower slopes.
A quick slide in through the small cornice and a few test jumps and off we went - skiing! Fantastic powder skiing though the flat light and gusty winds (windy Col!) meant we didn't see or video as much as we hoped for...
At the moment the west facing slopes in Coire an t-Sneachda are a skiers paradise but a climbers hell! More details on Fi's blog here. See the latest YouTube skiing video below:

The HD version of the video can now be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RhFvmIRXvU

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Another great ski day


Full details on Fi's blog here
I'll upload a video of the skiing down Coire Laogh Mor tomorrow once I replace the video clips I accidently deleted!
Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A dynamite day at Cairngorm!







Literally a dynamite day as Cairngorm Mountain were blasting the slopes before opening the pistes to minimize the high avalanche risk! A lot of hard work and digging going on to get everything up and running safely. As there was still limited tickets and up uplift we skinned up under azure skies to Cairngorm's glittering summit cone.

The views across Scotland's snow clad summits were simply breathtaking as was our off piste freshy run back down the mountain. Lots of ski mountaineers out on the hill though we didn't see any climbers! See the full sized YouTube video above here
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