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...!


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!
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