28/02/12 Ben Nevis

The thaw in the Highlands continued today with continual rain on Ben Nevis. Teams were out on Ledge Route and Number 4 Gully. The summit was very quiet!

Large cornices still exist in some locations. For example, above Number 5 Gully.

27/02/12 Glencoe

Today I have been out scrambling and teaching navigation on Beinn a’Chrulaiste. This little mountain has a nice grade 1 scramble on it called Pink Rib and some good terrain for practicing navigation.

There is still currently enough snow in the White Corries area for practising winter skills and the larger gully’s such as Broad Gully appear to be holding on despite the continued thaw.

25/02/12 Glenshee

Out with Adventure Edinburgh in Glenshee today. We used snow patches and ribbons to practice boot and axe work, self belay and ice axe arrest. We then headed up to the summit of The Cairnwell and around to Carn Aosda. There are patches of old firm snow and snow in gully lines from around 750m and larger areas of snow on north and east facing coire rims in this area. Care is required in gully lines where streams are running underneath the decreasing snowpack.

Carn a'Gheoidh from The Cairnwell

Infrequent light rain showers on fresh westerly winds during the day with the freezing level above the summits. A report from Craig, who was out in the Ben Lawers area today, suggests the rain was significantly worse further west with the snowpack there becoming very wet and reducing significantly.

24/02/12 Glencoe

Practising ice axe arrest in Glencoe.

I was back in Glencoe today. The weather was much better than it has been over the last few days. We walked up to the White Corries to consolidate some winter skills and look at emergency shelters. The snow has now refrozen.

From a distance, it appears that big gully lines such as Broad Gully in Stob Coire Nan Lochain and Central Gully on Beinn an Dothaidh appear to be complete.

21/02/12 to 23/02/12 Meall Nan Tarmachan and the Drummochter Pass

Traversing towards the summit of The Sow of Atholl

Over the past three days I have been moving around Scotland to avoid the worst of the rain and to look at skills such as ice axe and crampon use, transceiver searches and emergency winter shelters.

On tuesday we headed to Meall Nan Tarmachan and for the past two days we have been in the Drummochter Pass. The thaw has been extensive but large patches still exist for practicing skills.

18/2/12 to 20/2/12 The Cairngorms and Glencoe

Gayle scrambling on the North East Ridge of Angels Peak.

The team outside Corrour Bothy.

Tam, Gayle and Ann walking from Angels Peak to Cairn Toul.

On Saturday Tam, Ann, Morag, Gayle, Paul, John and I headed into the Corrour Bothy from the Linn of Dee. Light snow and strong winds accompanied our walk in.
We got up early on Sunday and ascended the North East Ridge of Angels Peak to the summit, Cairn Toul and the Devils Elbow. There is still large amounts of snow in this area of the plateau. The high corries of the Cairngorms (such as An Garbh Coire) have large amounts of snow in them and on Sunday the buttresses were white. The descent to the Bothy from the plateau had some avalanche danger.
Today I have been in Glencoe teaching winter skills near the ski centre. It has been very wet. Torrential rain and high winds have affected Glencoe all day. A number of the rivers will now be difficult to cross.

18/02/12 Ben Ledi

Out with Lorna, Arlene, Rachel, Lisa-Jane, Sabine and Neil from the Glasgow Hillwalking and Mountaineering Club today doing a Winter Skills course.

Sabine, Lorna, Neil and Arlene in NE Coire of Ben Ledi

We headed in to the north-east coire of Ben Ledi and were rewarded with plenty of old snow and neve to practice on. There was a dusting of fresh snow from overnight and there was a graupel shower as we headed up in the morning.

Neil, Arlene and Lisa-Jane on steeper ground towards the end of the day

The coire was relaively sheltered from the west/north-west winds, but did catch some strong gusts; these usually accompanying the snow showers, which passed through throughout the day. Pockets of wind slab were developing in sheltered locations and cross loading was occuring. The wind slab was showing easy shears, but wasn’t deep enough in the coire to be of concern today. Freezing down to road level by the time we returned to the cars.

Rachel taking a break from front pointing/daggering

16/2/12 Stag Rocks. Y Gully and Diagonal Gully.

Linda descending Y Gully with Hells Lum behind.

 

Brian at the top of Diagonal Gully with Loch Avon behind.

I have been out in the Cairngorms today with Brian, Linda, Tam, Graham and John from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We headed over to Stag Rocks and descended Y Gully before climbing back out via Diagonal Gully.

Conditions in the Cairngorms are currently very very lean. The turf was not frozen at any level today.

15/02/12 Meall nan Tarmachan

Out with Tony, Steve, Curt & Bob from Falkirk today on Meall nan Tarmachan doing a Winter Navigation course. Patches of old snow from about 650m on north through east to south facing aspects.

Tony, Bob and Steve on Mell nan Tarmachan

The major gully lines on Cam Chreag were still just about complete. The snow pack was saturated at all heights and some patches of ice were still present. Above freezing all day with no precipitaion during the day and the strong wind varying from west through to north.

Cam Chreag

11/2/12 Skiing in Gressoney and Alagna

Marcus, Rosie and Steve below the Canale Grande.

Rosie having a rest at the top of the Canale Grande.

Steve off piste above Alagna.

A great day’s skiing today above Alagna and Gressoney. Highlights of the day were the Canale Grande, Canale Dell Aquila and the Vallone D’Olen which all had great snow.