Grant and I have just had two excellent days climbing in the Cairngorms. Yesterday we climbed Alladin’s Mirror Direct and Jacobs Edge in Coire an t-Sneachda. Both routes were in good condition and many others were white. There are large cornices though to be aware of in a number of locations.
Today we visited Coire an Lochain and climbed Iron Butterfly. The route is easier with neve. Today there was just enough good snow to make it fun. Cornices collapsing and avalanches were witnessed in the Number 2 and Number 3 Buttress areas.
On Saturday and Sunday I was out with Mike and Tim looking at Winter Climbing and Leading. They’re both rock climbers, but haven’t done much in winter.
On Saturday the Coire was busy, so we looked at safe route choice and then climbed Jacob’s Right Edge covering some winter protection they may not have seen before (e.g. pegs & warthogs); finding rock gear in winter conditions and some snow anchors. On the walk out we stopped in Coire Cas and looked at snow anchors in more detail.
On Sunday the Coire was quieter, but still fairly busy, and we opted to look at ice screw placement on the area right of Alladin’s Mirror. I lead through the slabs above, before the Mike and Tim took over swinging leads with me soloing alongside up to join the flat step on Pygmy Ridge. I lead the final section of Pygmy Ridge, so they could get a feel for some more mixed ground.
Generally good firm snow, where scoured, with the odd section of crust. Pockets of usually soft wind slab forming in sheltered areas with plenty of wind movement of snow on West and South West winds. Some sizable cornices in the coire.