I am just back from ski touring in the Troll Peninsula with Scott and Tina. We had an amazing time skiing great snow in remote valleys and on coastal peaks followed by a super friendly experience in the café at Dalvik on our return each day.
I would highly recommend Iceland for those who want to ski tour late April and May in a magical place where solitude can easily be found.
Paul and I have just spent a week in the Vanoise. From Monday to Friday we were ski touring with NOCG (Naval Outdoor Centre Germany) and Infinity Mountain Guides. Some of the highlights were;
- Rocher du Charvet (2856m) and the Palafour off piste run.
- Ouille de la Jave (2867m) and Ouille des Tretetes (2948m).
- Dome de Pramecou (3081m) and the Tour of the Grande Balme off piste run.
- Ouille Noire (3357m) and the Pays Desert.
- The Grande Motte (3423m) and the Couloir Petite Balme.
On Saturday, Paul and traversed La Tsanteleina (3601m) by climbing the North Face and descending the South Face and Glacier du Couarts Dessus. We had a great time on what was quite a physically challenging peak that before mid may (when the road opens) involves 1800 metres of ascent and a significant distance.
Lots more photos on the facebook page.
First day of the rock season today for Ivor and I. It was a lovely sunny day and a good temperature for climbing.
The wall style routes were dry. Steep routes such as those in the cave were mostly wet.
Jon, Mikey and I have been out over the last couple of days. On Sunday we visited Glencoe and traversed the Aonach Eagach. We wore crampons for the whole ridge. Some sections are dry but not enough to warrant taking crampons off.
Yesterday we visited the Cairngorms and traversed Cairn Lochain and Cairn Gorm via Lurchers Gully, a descent into Coire Domhain and a final descent of the pistes. We wore skis for the whole journey excluding two minutes on the approach to Lurchers Gully and one minute on around Point 1083m.
More photos on the facebook page.
Levin and I have been out in Glencoe for the last two days. Yesterday we climbed Curved Ridge and Crowberry Tower on Buachaille Etive Mor. The route was in excellent condition. We descended via a snow bollard into Coire na Tulaich.
Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress on Aonach Dubh, Dorsal Arete in SCNL and descended Broad Gully in SCNL. Dinnertime Buttress didn’t require crampons until beyond the crux chimney. Dorsal Arete was in the best condition I have ever seen it in. Broad Gully was descended on good snow (although there was some shallow windslab).
Lots more photos on the facebook page.
Yesterday the team and I visited the West Face of Aonach Mor where we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, some excellent neve and some interesting fresh snow arête’s following the recent weather.
Today we spent some time on Ben Nevis climbing ice pitches in Coire na Ciste and the CIC Hut Cascades.
Yesterday a team and I from Ballachulish climbed Pearly Gates in Stob Coire nan Lochan. We climbed the route on good snow ice.
Today, we climbed Oganach Chimney which is on the north side of Am Bodach (the start of the Aonach Eagach). This route was first climbed in December 2017 by Andy Nelson and Andy Hogarth. It gave a nice grade III in the current conditions. The turf was frozen today however the snow was not. It was very, very wet. The route will be excellent once it freezes again.
These two routes have two things in common; very few runners and few belays. If you find a good one, take it!
This week I have been instructing on a Winter Mountain Leader training course for Ballachulish. We have visited; Stob Mhic Mhartuin, Beinn an Dothaidh, the Cairngorms, the Nid on Aonach Mor and tomorrow we are going to Beinn Dorain.
It has been a week of mixed weather with the first half as good as it gets and the last couple of days less so! 80mph winds, rain and very poor visibility. All good training though for those aiming to complete this award.
Yesterday in the strong winds I was out on Emel Ridge. This ridge is located on Beinn an Dothaidh and is a good option in less than perfect conditions. The line taken can be varied as required from grade I to III. Or, like yesterday, be taken very direct to give short sections of IV and V.
Despite the weather the ridge provided us the appropriate terrain to practise skills such as short roping, guiding in parallel and descending steep snow.
Yesterday I was out on Beinn Dorain with a team from Ballachulish looking at skills required for guiding on grade I/II ground. There was a good covering of firm snow on many aspects above 500 metres and ice still present on the crags.
Today we have been on Ben Nevis climbing routes in the CIC Hut cascades area and an ice flow below the Curtain. The ice was in good condition today. However, things will be different tomorrow if the forecast is correct but should improve again towards the weekend.