Monday, 29 March 2010

A rest day today

A day off today, well that was the theory but in practise the weather was ace so with my friend Andy we went along to Anoch Beag, using the chair lift and Quad chair at Nevis Range and climbed a couple of unclimbed lines. It was almost perfect weather with quite strong and cold winds, but in the sunshine it felt really good.
Above: the North Face of Aonach Beag
Above : Ben Nevis on the skyline in fantastic winter conditions!

Climbing down to our climbs!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Fresh snow and lots of it!

Above: Kathy probing the snow pack!
I had a good day on Cairngorm today and was on the hill with Kathy of SAIS fame and some other friends. Members of Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT) were out braving the elements too as were many skiers and a few climbers. The weather was a bit miserable though ( character building one could call it!) with lots of fresh snow, especially above 800 metres with drifting. Cairngorm Mountain has good fresh snow on compacted runs although the wind exposed uplifts were closed today. Some lower runs closer to the car park have narrowed a bit. Many snow fences are still buried , the piste machine drivers are very busy and all in all the skiing will be superb.
(below: members of CMRT)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Winter ice-climbing- Scotland

Ice on the windscreen of our cars this morning in Newtonmore and climbing conditions in the Cairngorms are amazingly fine. Here are Max and Ross on Fiacaill Couloir which had lots of ice to climb and is generally in excellent condition. The recent melt freeze has striped some of the steeper buttress routes and this has made it easier to place runners. There remains tons of snow, and skiing on Cairngorm Mountain looks fantastic.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A gusty and rainy day

We walked in and went to the foot of our intended climb, but gusts were really strong and there was ice falling from any exposed rock above. The day was great for navigation practice!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Perfect neve for climbing today

Here is Maxine and Ross climbing their first winter climb. This is Spiral Gully an good grade 2 **, a long and fairly interesting climb on Fluted Buttress, Corie an t- Sneachda, Cairngorms.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Cairngorm Days

(Above) Jonathan with introductory ski-mountaineers on Cairngorm.
Below: Self- arrest, a use full and important skill, but it's better not to fall in the first place!

Sunday, new week, new people and our interesting life continues. This week at Team Ascent we have introductory ski touring and an introductory winter climbing course. The snow was well frozen this morning although it became quite soft by the end of the day. Climbs are getting done and ski touring conditions are excellent with continued outstandingly amazing snow cover. On Cairngorm Mountain the snow cover is amazing and there are no crows to contend with from Monday to Friday- it's superb.
Maxine and Ross on the summit of Cairngorm.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Instructing to lead climb.

The Diploma in Mountain Medicine week came to a close today ( Saturday) evening. I was guiding on climbs at Anoach Mor, Nevis range... It was an nice day with very few people around although climbing conditions were OK and well frozen in the morning. Later the ice became a bit softer with the occasional dubious placement, but generally pretty good. The skiing also looked superb!
Ian, Jon, and I climbed, Tunnel Vision and Left Twin,

Friday, 19 March 2010

Doctors , tranceivers and probes

As part of the Diploma of Mountain Medicine we were involved in setting up some avalanche (search and rescue) scenarios, with bodies buried in avalanche debris. The location was near Tyndrum where earlier this year avalanches extended well beyond the recreation zone and damaged the "Network Rail" link between Glasgow and Fort William and caused some serious delays to commuters. We are fortunate that there are Doctors willing to put themselves through this type of additional training in some fairly unpleasant weather so that they can deal expertly with mountain trauma.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Cairngorms today

A nice day in the Cairngorms today, on Red Gully and Fingers Ridge.. the weather was sunny, windy and warmish with lots of rime ice falling down the gullies, so really it was not that pleasant climbing in the gullies but ridges were ace although wind exposed! Conditions are good with lots of plastic fantastic ice! A friend told me that the forecast is for colder temperature to return by the end of the week, so it will be amazing climbing by the weekend!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Technical day - Anoch Mhor

The Met office forecast was accurate again today with freezing level coming down quite low giving us reasonably frozen conditions on the snow. Here we are abseiling over some large cornices down into a gully.
Climbing out again: simulating making ones way out from a crevasse.
Abseiling off a T-Axe snow anchor.
You may think that the recent warming has denuded the ski slopes but there still remains great skiing at Nevis Range

Monday, 15 March 2010

Glencoe - Stob Corie nan Lochan

Wet snow avalanches were seen in the Corie today while guiding nad coaching doctors who are taking part in the Diploma of Mountain Medicine (DMM)
The weather was pretty wild this morning with high winds and freezing levels above the west coast summits, but later it cleared to give a brilliant day.
Above, R to L. James, Karen, Mike and Rob on the summit. Karen's first visit to Scotland and her first Munro!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Cairngorm Day

An interesting day today with slightly warmer temperatures and a wind which gusted to 60 mph on Cairngorm summit. It was full Scottish winter climbing conditions and these photos are of Jon climbing on Invernookie which is a classic two star grade III,4 . Invernookie was first climbed in winter by Kenny Spence and John Porteous on the 4th January 1969. It's on the Fiacaill buttress of Coire an t-Snechda.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Scottish ski touring: Glenshee

It's been a great day today over in the Glenshee area and visibility stayed good for most of the day.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Alpine days

The Aiguilles of Chamonix.
H. at rest!
Here we are with amazing views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley! Yep, been away skiing for a few days, wow, so lucky!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Short Circuit Corie An T- Snechda

Stu and I went to climb Short Circuit IV,5 today but a couple of pitches up Stu's crampon broke so we had a nice escape exercise with some good abseiling and all... Experience enhancing.

There were friendly groups from Glenmore Lodge climbing Invernookie and Fiacaille Couloir. The banter was good and of course it was another wonderful good weather day!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Nevis Range

Climbed Tunnel Vision today over on the West, the skiing at Nevis range looks superb! The initial descent down Easy Gully was OK but not ideal and the SAIS report forecasting localised considerable seemed to be bang on. The traverse around the bottom required care as there is some deep and seemingly bottomless snow around.The climb itself was in good condition although there were occasional falls of snow from above once the sun began to shine. An ace day.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Fiacaill Couloir - Northern Corries of Cairn Gorm

Here is Stu climbing Fiacaill Couloir , a 150 m grade 11/111. This was first climbed by Tom Patey in January 1958. Today avalanche condition's were considerable but on easterly aspects climbing is good enough although the gullies are full of snow and grades are easy. A great day out.