James and I climbed Steall Falls, which was in surprisingly good condition. We zigzaged around to take in all the steepest bits which made for a good route. There was a lot of snow on the easy angled ground, but this didn't affect the climbing.
James will be putting a wee video on his blog if you want to check it out.
Today James and I went to Tyndrum to escape the bad conditions high up. This proved to be a good call as we found plastic ice on Eas Anie. We climbed the far right hand variation which went at approx. V.5. There was a couple of other teams on the normal route. We did come across the odd pocket of weak snow, but generally it was ok when we left mid afternoon.
I was climbing with Martin today on the East face of Aonach Mor. We climbed Siamese Twin and a steep icy variation of Roaring Fourties that felt about V,5. The ice was generally excellent and the cornices were not a problem for the routes in these areas.
I climbed Minus 2 Gully with Nigel today. This is an excellent route, with 4 interesting pitches. However, the conditions were not as good as I thought they would. The route was very stepped out and the ice was poor in general, breaking off in chunks. There are in situ ab points to get back down to the first platform if you want a short day.
Today we walked into Sneachda and went for the slopes to the left of the Mess of Potage. The aim of the day was to look at snow belays and have a bit of a journey in the Sun. As we headed over the moraine we took the chance to look at some pre dug emergency shelters, before starting to dig. After looking at bucket seats and buried axes, we went up through the window and over to Cairngorm. There were skiers everywhere again today taking advantage of the excellent conditions. After photos on the summit we walked down corie na ciste to be picked up.
Today was the first of a Glenmore Lodge winter mountaineering weekend. As the weather was so good we made and ascent of the Fiacaill Ridge. We covered some aspects of navigation on the way to the base of the ridge. Then a few skills before getting on to the ridge proper. The ridge is in excellent condition, with the well troddend track giving some consolidated snow to use. There were more skiers than climbers in the corie today with fresh tracks on every aspect. What climbers there were, where on all the usual routes that have been cleaned and climbed recently.
I met up with Tony today at Stanage as the fog was wetting things out in West Yorkshire. We had good conditions for a while until the snow came. We flashed a range of problems up to V5, with my favorite being Cresent Arete on its righthand side. It's pretty nice to get out on some rock after all the winter climbing and feel like I'm doing ok. I'm looking forward to living a lot closer to good crags again.
Yesterday I was working at GCC on the second day of a CWA training course. We started down at Xscape to cover the use of a second wall before finishing off at GCC in the afternoon. I'm down in Yorkshire for a week visiting the wife and have a some work. I might even get a few routes in, it is dry this morning.
Today was the last day of the Glenmore Lodge mountaineering course. Folks wanted to further their ventures into steep ground, so we split into 2 groups. Ian took his group into point 5 gully and I headed into Aladdin's Couloir. We made good progress up the couloir and popped out into the sunshine. We went down into the window and on to the slope at the top of message pottage descent and dug an emergenvy shelter. It was a good chance to head over 1141 and into the Cas to have a last look at snow belays before returning to the lodge.
Matt and Dave climbed Un Poco Loco on church door buttress today, saying that conditions were excellent. Hopefully Matt will post a few pics soon.
Today we made an ascent of the Fiacaill Ridge, which was in outstanding condition. You could pick a line anywhere you wanted. After topping out we made a traverse around that top of Lochain using the rope to safe guard us as we handrailed the corie edge. There are some large cornices about that has drooped and refrozen. We eventually came down and into Lochain before picking are way out.
There were many climbing teams out again in all the easy gullies, patey's, Aladdin's Direct and terms of enderment.
In was the day 3 of the Glenmore Lodge Mountaineering course, which was steep ground. We all Navigated into the white room that was Corie an t sneachda to be rewarded with clearing skies. We journied around the corie to the flat ice to look at the difference between hard snow and water ice when using crampons, before heading on to the steep ground on the west side of the corie. Here we looked at bucket seats and buried axes. The group then made their way up onto the col on the Fiacaill ridge. We then plodded down the ridge to look at the bollards before heading out. A great day.
There were plenty of folks out climbing. Teams did the Genie, Damnation, Fluted Buttress, Fingers Ridge and all the other usual suspects.
Today was the second day of the winter mountaineering course I'm working on for Glenmore Lodge. We headed up into Coire Laogh Mor to put some of the skills from the previous day into practise. With the lower cloud base it gave us a great opportunity to look at some navigation as well. After picking our way up the corie, we navigated our way to the top of Cairngorm. There were some excellent learning points along the way in the whiteout conditions. We had a bit of a clearing on the way down over the Monolaith. Anotheer good day.
This week I'm working with Niel for Glenmore Lodge on a winter mountaineering course. The first day is a skills day, so we headed up to the Cas headwall area. We covered a lot of essential skills throughout the day before making our way back to the bus. Tomorrow we will go for a bit of a journey and consolidate what we covered today and add a few more things in.
I've spent the last 3 days with Simon and Shahida who were on an intro to winter climbing. Unfortunatley, Shahida had slipped a disc prior to the course which was still very sore. She was however keen to see what she could manage.
The first day took us up toward the CIC to do some skills refreshing and look at some ice climbing technique. This worked really well and everyone managed the day.
On Saturday Shahida had more bad look. Her foot had bruised on the walk out and she was struggling to walk. we binned are original plan of walking into lochain and went to the Ice Factor. this worked out great. We covered loads of movement and rope skills and everyone had a good day. Shahida had put in a sterling effort, but sadly had hit her limit.
Today Simon and I headed up a damp and atmospheric Curved Ridge. The route is still in great condition, but there was a bit of funky surface hoar higher up.
Overall the 3 days have been a success and hopefully Shahida will back.
Yesterday Matt, James and I went up to the Cascades by the CIC hut. I have wanted to climb the main cascade for a long time, but always seem to miss it. There was another team ahead of us, so we chilled at the bottom (it was a stunning day). The leader had a bit of an epic and had to take a belay just above half height. I let the second get clear, but unfortunately had to hang around for a while until they led and followed the top section (thank god it had eased). The route is outstanding, but very bold at the bottom. All the features make the climbing very varied and interesting throughout, but block the chance of good screws. I placed some poor slings over spikes and threads that did not really inspire confidence. I find this style of climbing hard to grade, but a bold and spooky V,5 seems fair.
Lorrie joined Matt and I on the Buachaille today to enjoy the stunning weather. Lorrie has done very little in the winter, so it was a great chance for Matt to do all the leading. I was on photo duty. The conditions were excellent, good ice and firm snow with a layer of fresh. Matt did a great job on the 2 tricky sections before we waded to the summit. A stunning day.
Today Matt and I only had a short time to bag a route as we needed to get back into the Fort to pick up some things. We made the short walk to the base of Vanishing Gully, which looked great. The first pitch has great climbing on it, but the screws are disposable. There was the odd peice of rock gear, but not much. The second pitch has good hard ice through the short steep section making the climbing safer and enjoyable. We descended down the 1934 Route.
To make use of our time we looked at Abolokovs and had a play in the snow. There were small pockets of fresh snow around, but it appeared to be loose and fluffy with no obvious slab. We headed out and were back for tea and medals at 14:30, winner!