Monday, 28 January 2008

Winter skills on Cairngorm

Here we are again in the delightful Grampian Mountains on Cairngorm. Over the last few days we have been instruction snow caving, climbing, mountain walking and night navigation. The weather has been wild with high winds and a raised freezing level. This has resulted in the gullies being still good for climbing and the buttresses being striped of snow. However the river spay has broken its banks in many places and the flooding water has caused lots of damage and hassle. On the Crags, the Turf is still well frozen and snow is forecast for the higher ground so in day or two climbing should be good again. Here are photos of Jasson and Pete. We spent last night in a snow cave on the plateau at Coire Domhain, the cave took about three hours to dig out and we had strong westerly winds to contend with. We had a few hours of night navigation and then slept like proverbial logs in our quiet and wind free snow hole. Stars broke through fr a while but soon they were obscured by coud and there were a few drips from the cealing of our snow cave by morning time. Really the snow did not freeze at all last night, but still it's windy and this adds to the wind chill when you are out on exposed ridges.
When snow caving in Cairngorm we have to save our poo and carry it down the hil to dispose of it in a safe and tidy manner. Mountain guides and Glenmore lodge ( our Scottish Outdoor trainning centre) have been doing this for years however now Cairngorm Mountain and the Ranger service priovide fantastic facillity for this and you can collect your bio-degradable poo bags and secure carrying container from the Rangers office at Cairngorm Mountain.

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