Saturday, 24 January 2009

Winter Mountaineering - Cairngorm Mountains

Saturday 24 January 2009: It's cold but amazingly pleasant on the hill. It has been a clear day with occasional outbreaks of sun shine. Consequently there are lots of people skiing, ski- mountaineering and winter climbing and I would say it has been a busy day in the Cairngorms. Cairngorm Mountain's car park seemed full and the Huskey racers were out in large numbers, mushing their trusty dog teams down at the Hayfield and speeding their way through the ancient Pine Forrest! They are well organised with a several mobile shops selling burgers and steaks and all sorts of dog mushing consumables! It's also rare to see so many posh four wheel drives in one place. Husky racing is obviously a sport for the wealthy and there was me thinking that such outdoor people utilising dog power to transport them selves through the wilds would not be motivated or even interested in driving a Chelsea tractor! Aye, life, it's overflowing with surprises and I dare say the wisdom of us humans is plain for all aliens whizzing through space to see!
But then I am a mountain guide myself! Conquistador of the useless - hu- A noble profession some say!
Anyway, here are some photos of Stephen climbing in Corie an Sneachda and as you can see the conditions are good, if anything there is too much snow in the gullies covering the rocks and good ice placements. Stability wise or is it instability, things are pretty solid although easterly aspects must be a bit dodgy as once on the plateau we could see lots of spindrift blowing across and down over Hells Lumb. Cover for ski-mountaineering is pretty good although west facing slopes exposed to the winds are stripped down to the boulders. They say the weather is to be wild tomorrow and there are reports of a serious avalanche in Glencoe. I say you are safe to enjoy your Burns supper tonight, and if you have a dram to many, it's probably not such a bad idea to have a long lie in the morning!!

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