Friday, 27 February 2015

Cha No-last day for the lead climbers

A breezy walk in, a breezy climb (with some soft snow building at the lip of the gullies) but another route in the bag for Zoe and Callum and a quick go on something harder too. Not an easy week for the guys but they seemed to quite enjoy the 'train hard- fight easy' approach to winter lead climbing brought on by persevering against the weather this week. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Spiral Gully, snow, ice and rock

Day 4 of the Intro to Winter Lead Climbing at Glenmore Lodge and our first day in the Northern Coires! Excellent if windy fun on an icey Spiral Gully for Callum and Zoe. A breezy walk across the plateau as the snow arrived at the end of the day.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

2 more days with Callum and Zoe

Yesterday's forecast for wind and avalanche hazard meant that we opted to make use of the facilities at Glenmore Lodge doing some dry tooling and rope work so that the guys would be ready to get on the sharp end today.
With a still less than ideal avalanche forecast and the knowledge that plenty of folk were streaming over from the west we went totally outside the box and drove west! The west face of Aonach Mor was as close to a sure fire safe aspect as we were likely to find and I knew just the place to go. Zoe and Callum led 5 pitches of up to III and although the wind appeared at lunchtime to give us our daily exfoliation the precipitation wasn't to bad and a useful day was had in a new venue for them. More climbing tomorrow!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Wild and windy day 1

I'm over in the east working a climbing course at Glenmore Lodge with Callum and Zoe. A wild day and plenty of blown snow kept us low down today at the Ciste Crag.
 Shooting cracks on the walk in
 'Never underestimate the Ciste Crag'- now if only I listened more to my own advice
 Graham with his climbers
Zoe dressed for action

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Climbing wall and Aonach Mor

Since getting back from the east I've spent 2 days working with West Highland College students on their skills acquisition module at The Ice Factor. On wednesday it was wild outside and just about every Instructor and their dog was in the wall.
Today I was out for AMI running a workshop on mountaineering for Trainee MICs. We headed round to the west face of Aonach Mor where we managed to get on a rocky rib interspersed with deep powder wades. Higher up we hit some more open slopes and looked at managing traverses and short descents.
What looked like debris from 2 large avalanches on the east side of the CMD arete visible.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

I've just spent 4 days in the east working with Scott and a team from Worksop College helping prepare them for a wee adventure we will be having together in Greenland this summer. A real mix of weather and lots of hard work from all.
 Self belay rom Scott
 Coming down after day 1
 Hanging around
 Heading for windy col...
 Which lives up to its name
 Cairngorm summit
A hole in the snow

Friday, 13 February 2015

Another week another hole in the snow

Spent the last 2 days on expedition with the Glenmore Lodge WML Trainees. We had planned to head to some snow holes over the back of Carn Ban Mor but a last minute text informed us of some military squatters so we went to Garbh Uisge Beag instead, making use of another day of stunning weather. After a little blue sky navigation on the way in we started digging. Of course a couple of metres in we hit hard stuff so Derek and I turned left and right respectively to make our comfortable beds (my elbows may need a week or so to recover). The team soon got the idea and created holes following the softer snow.
This morning we woke to a little drifting- most of which had occurred on one snow shower pre midnight- and perfect navigation conditions!
We spent the day in the white room the group ticking off lots of legs relying on dead reckoning and feeling the ground- as we couldn't see it! I took over for the last hour and a half for a rapid descent in time to get back to the Lodge for a review and some individual debriefs.
 Walk in
 Dig in
 Derek 'Dr. Mole' Bain
 First clouds of the week
 After dark snow hole visits

 Candidates dug in
 The morning drift (note my foot at bottom of pic)
 A useful indicator of overnight wind
 Ready for the first leg- finally some proper weather!
Creating 'stable tables' for accurate nav