Cairngorms and Glencoe

Yesterday the team and I travelled from Ballachulish to the Cairngorms in search of dry weather. We were rewarded with a beautiful day and evening. Throughout the day we visited; Coire an-t Sneachda, the Goat Track, Coire Domhain, Feith Buidhe and Cairn Lochan.

Wherever we encountered snow it was firm and crampons were required on all steeper sections.

Today the rain was torrential on the west coast. We visited Glencoe ski centre and spent the day doing avalanche rescue techniques. The snow was disappearing fast.

The team in Coire Domhain.

The team in Coire Domhain.

Aonach Mor

The team and I were out today on Aonach Mor. After completing a micro navigation session on the plateau we descended the Nid Ridge. At a safe point we built snow bollards and practised abseiling.

The snow on the surface was soft and heavy. However, there is an icy layer underneath and crampons were essential. Cornices were visible at points on the ridge.

Abseiling on a snow bollard reinforced with shovels.

Abseiling off a snow bollard reinforced with shovels.

Buachaille Etive Mor

Today we visited Buachaille Etive Mor. It was another stunning day in Glencoe.

The snow was mostly soft at all altitudes with the odd patch of firmer neve.

Descending from the col at the top of Coire na Tulaich

Descending from the col at the top of Coire na Tulaich

Winter Skills

It was a glorious day again today in Glencoe. I was out with a new team from Ballachulish looking at winter skills such as ice axe arrest.

The highest altitude we reached was 750 metres. The snow was soft at this elevation.

A beautiful day to be out in the snow.

A beautiful day to be out in the snow.

Cleish Hills

Jen, Rich and I went for a walk in the very accessible Cleish Hills in Fife today taking in the summits of The Inneans, Dummiefarline, Dumglow and Park Hill. Although low in stature these hills are steep sided and give plenty of interest.

Jen and Rich on top of Park Hill with views to The Ochils behind.

Jen and Rich on top of Park Hill with views to The Ochils behind.

The weather was excellent with sunshine and light winds with great views in all directions.

Aonach Eagach

Today John and I were out with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors winter mountaineering team of David, Emanuelle, Ross and Tzvetie. We traversed the classic Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe from East to West in superb spring conditions taking in the Munros of Meall Dearg and Sgurr nam Fiannaidh.

David and Ross in the pinnacles on The Aonach Eagach.

David and Ross in the pinnacles on The Aonach Eagach with another team behind.

The weather was very kind and we had low winds, excellent views, soft snow and dry rock on the ridge. Where the recent snow is catching the sun on West and South aspects it is disappearing fast, but it is holding on in the shade on North and East facing slopes at height. I’ll put some more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Glencoe Ski Centre

Today we visited Glencoe Ski centre. We spent the day looking at avalanche rescue techniques and snow anchors.

A number of pistes were open today and from a distance the skiing looked good.

Buachaille Etive Mor.

Buachaille Etive Mor this morning.

Pinnacle Buttress Groove

Today the team and I returned to Stob Coire nan Lochan. Here we climbed Pinnacle Buttress Groove in good conditions with nicely frozen turf. Teams on Summit Buttress also reported the turf to be useable.

Lots of evidence of wind transportation of the recent snowfall. There was some minor releases in the corrie as the temperature rose during the day.

Nearing the top of Pinnacle Buttress Groove.

Nearing the top of Pinnacle Buttress Groove.

Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Update

A while ago I put up posts on the ClimbNow Blog and Facebook pages about the Falkirk Council vote on the possible closure of the excellent Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors. A number of people have asked me about the outcome recently and I realised I should do an update.

It’s basically good news and the service has been saved. For more information please visit:

https://m.facebook.com/SaveFalkirkOutdoors/posts/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1

Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors are therefore delivering a kids Easter Programme (although reduced compared to normal due to the uncertainty a lateness of a decision relative to the start of the programme). Please see here for more information:

http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/outdoors/youth-programme.aspx

They’ll be continuing to deliver an Outdoor Education to schools in the Falkirk area.

Their Winter Adult and Senior Programme runs until the 6th of April and hopefully a Summer Adult & Senior Programme will be available soon. See here for more information:

http://www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/outdoors/programme/

Many thanks to all those who took the time to sign petitions, contact councillors and MSPs and co-ordinate these efforts.

Wilf.

Buachaille Etive Mor

Yesterday John and I climbed on Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Coe with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors winter climbing team of Doug, Gregor, Lewis and Steve. We had a great day climbing North Buttress with excellent views and relatively low winds. After taking in the summit of Stob Dearg we were able to descend via Coire na Tulaich, but care and good route choice is required here with current snow conditions.

Gregor and Lewis near the bottom of the chimneys.

Gregor and Lewis near the bottom of the chimneys.

The recent snow isn’t consolidated, is deep in sheltered locations and contains a fair amount of graupel. There is very little old snow on The Buachaille, but where new snow overlies old snow there are very easy shears. A North-East wind was redistributing snow throughout the day meaning there will be potential for avalanches on lots of aspects today and until the snow consolidates. Higher up on the route, above the chimneys, there is a thin layer of generally crusty snow ice, which isn’t very helpful for climbing and it’s worth allowing extra time in your planning for this. I’ll put some more photos on The ClimbNow Facebook page.

Gregor high on North Buttress with the expanse of Rannoch Moor behind.

Gregor high on North Buttress with The Kingshouse and the expanse of Rannoch Moor behind.