This week I have been helping with the Guides winter test. Full winter conditions have returned to the Cairngorms with lots of snow, ice building and frozen turf.
Congratulations to both the candidates on their efforts in, at times, tough conditions.
Colin and l had a nice day today climbing the brilliant Souter sea stack and other rock climbs in the area. The friction is fine at the moment but many other routes are green.
This week I have been delivering a Winter Climbing Leader course for the Joint Services.
After visiting the Ice Factor on Monday we traversed the Douglas Boulder Gap on Tuesday. We then spent Wednesday climbing The Slant in Coire an t-Sneachda and on Thursday we went ice climbing very near to the Twin Burns in Coire an Lochain.
The conditions on the Douglas Boulder Traverse were fine. It should be noted that in other areas of Coire an Lochain from where we were that large amounts of ice were falling down.
Winter skills, avalanche awareness and avalanche rescue techniques this week with the Joint Services. We visited Glencoe Ski Centre, Aonach Dubh, A’Bhuidheanach Bheag and Cairn Gorm.
There is still a lot of wet snow around in a number of locations but a freeze is very much needed.
The days I’ve had pencilled in for possible early winter climbing don’t seem to be lining up with conditions at the moment, so I’m trying to take opportunities to keep hill fit wherever I can.
Today I broke a dreich journey back up from Derbyshire by stopping at Elvanfoot and walking/running around some of the eastern Lowther Hills. The route took in Louise Wood Law, White Law, Dun Law and Glen Ea’s Hill. There was a scattering of snow above 600m although this may disappear tomorrow.
With very strong easterly winds forecast at height today B and I headed west of Lochgoilhead to take in some lower hills. We visited Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn, Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn an Lochain and it’s East Top. This avoided the worst of the precipitation and we only had a couple of showers although it was pretty windy even on these 2000ft hills.
There was a covering of snow above about 800m visible on the hills further east and north; as we drove back through Arrochar Beinn Ime and The Cobbler had a good dusting high up.
David and I have had a successful weeks climbing together. We have covered lots of excellent ground on limestone and granite. Routes completed;
- L’Arete a Marion near the Col des Aravis.
- Aiguille d’Entreves Traverse.
- Traverese of the Pyramide Calcaire in the Val Veny.
- The Voie Perroux Brunat on L’ Index above Chamonix.
Tomorrow we are off to La Duchere to look at multi pitch lead climbing skills.
I was out this week on behalf of Frost Guiding with Chris. We had a successful week completing the following;
- Rock climbing at the Vallorcine Slabs.
- The traverse of Pointe Percee via the Arête du Doigt and Cheminee Sallanches.
- Arete Marion.
- The Dom (4545m).
- Skills day near Arolla.
Guy, Joey, Paul and I have had four varied days in the Alps.
On Tuesday we climbed Aiguilles Marbrees and traversed Le Petit Flambeau from the Rifugio Torino before overnighting at the hut. The snow ridge on Le Petit Flambeau is currently icy and requires screws.
The next day we traversed the Aiguille d’Entreves in good conditions.
Yesterday we visited the beautiful Vanoise National Park and traversed the stunning Aiguille de la Vanoise which includes a very, very narrow rock ridge.
Today we went multi pitch rock climbing at La Duchere. There is some seepage on the crag after last nights rain.
John and I have had another busy few days. On Friday we walked to the Hörnli Hut before climbing the Matterhorn yesterday.
Today we visited the Eldorado Domes above Les Contamines. This excellent crag is 5/6 pitches high and rarely visited. Even though it is a Sunday in August, we were the only climbers there.