Following a day in the Ice Factor yesterday, we headed back out onto the hill today to climb another interesting mountaineering route. We ascended the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn which is a nice Grade II ridge. It gave a safe choice in the current snow conditions. There was a large amount of snow falling throughout the day on strong winds which will lead to deposits of windslab. The turf was frozen above 800m.
B and I took a walk today to see whether the ice was holding on Creag an Leth-choin and were rewarded with a very pleasant day climbing North Gully.
The approach was relatively easy as the thaw over the last few days had reduced the soft snow cover on the walk in and the refreeze had firmed up the remaining patches.
We climbed the route via the left hand fork on generally good ice throughout and mostly screw belays. Lots of easy angled ice, but several good steeper steps with plenty of scope for variation. The right fork also looked climbable.
The turf was frozen at crag height and on most of the approach. No visible remaining cornices on this west facing crag. The buttress lines were fairly black with little riming and the nature of a lot of those routes would probably mean there’d currently be a lot of loose blocks. Good weather on the approach, but snowing steadily above 600m (rain below) on a South-Westerly/Westerly wind as we walked out.
Yesterday I was out on the Zig Zags in Glencoe which lead to Gearr Aonach. After the first ‘Zig’ all the ramps had good snow. After we finished the route we traversed Gearr Aonach and descended back to the bus via Stob Coire nan Lochain. The buttresses were white. Things however have changed rapidly overnight.
We drove through Glencoe today on the way to Beinn an Dothaidh. There has been large amounts of snow loss which will have put a number of the buttress routes out of condition. On Beinn an Dothaidh we climbed Emel Ridge. There was some ice around, still a good quantity of snow and the turf was frozen above 750 metres. There is still large amounts of snow in the easy gulllies. Avalanche debris was visible in Central Gully.
Given a fairly nasty looking forecast Cameron and I decided to head to Ravelston Quarry today for a few hours dry tooling before the heavy rain arrived.
The quarry isn’t bolted and a rigging rope is definitely helpful for setting up bottom ropes. We climbed the two corners, the arete between them and one of the face routes allowing us to work on technique and get a good work out. Care is required with the rock and there are a few sizable newish looking rock scars on some of the face routes.
Out with Falkirk Community Trust ski touring today with Euan, James, Fiona, Graeme, John, Jonathan, Tam and Tom in the Ben Lawers area.
We skinned up the Ben Lawers access road from the main road and up to the bealach between Meall Corranaich and Beinn Ghlas. The return gave us an excellent easy angled descent on untracked snow. The access road was drivable to near the top of the forestry without a specialist vehicle by the time we descended.
There is full snow cover in this area at the moment with the snow generally being soft and unconsolidated making travel without skis or snowshoes very time consuming. There was no significant precipitation whilst we were out, but some wind movement of snow in exposed areas on a South-Westerly/Westerly wind. Below freezing all day at higher levels. There’s crust on the snow lower down and the snow was becoming heavier at lower levels with rising temperatures. Sunshine on and off throughout the day.
Craig and Iona were also out near Killin looking at winter navigation and reported fairly hard going in the soft snow without skis.
The heavy snow arrived in Glencoe today mid morning along with strong winds and poor visibility. We visited the Zig Zags on Gearr Anoach to look at short roping skills. This gave us a good safe route in the current weather and snow conditions.
Today I visited Stob Coire Nan Lochain in Glencoe with my team of trainee Winter Climbing Instructors. We spent the day climbing Wandering Wombat looking at guiding skills such as short roping, parallel roping and the use of a magic plate. The buttress routes were in good condition. Teams were out on a number of routes including Tilt and Central Grooves.
Yesterday we attempted to climb on Cam Chreag in the Ben Lawers area. We did not manage to get to the crag as there is so much snow in this area. Teams attempting hills in this area would be advised to have skis, snowshoes or a good headtorch and a lot of time.
Pamela and I headed to The Cobbler today and climbed Maclay’s Crack. This gave a good climb up a natural winter line on very well frozen turf and rimed rock.
There’d been some fresh snow and some wind movement of snow since Sunday and no significant consolidation of the snowpack. However, the approach to the crag was fine and deeper unconsolidated areas were generally avoidable. The turf at crag height is well frozen, there’s some icing, but burns are still running. Cloud cover all day with just the odd lifting of the cloud above the summits. Light South-easterly winds.
Today I have been at Beinn Udlaidh in the Southern Highlands. We climbed three different lines in the Tinkerbell area. This was the safest part of the crag today. Due to the recent wind direction there is large amounts of snow deposited on the ice routes in the centre of the Coire and in all the gully lines. It is most likely that there will be good ice underneath the snow but large amounts of clearing would be required. Careful consideration to avalanche risk is also necessary.
Yesterday, we were at the White Corries ski area looking at snowcraft and guiding skills. There are deep drifts on a number of aspects.
On the basis that a picture paints a thousand words here are a few more photos from yesterday on the Cobbler kindly sent through by Nettle.