Glencoe and Bridge of Orchy

Practising crampon skills.

For the past two days I have been out with a team from Ballachulish. Yesterday we were out in Glencoe and today we were on the flank of Beinn an Dothaidh. The focus of the two days has been on avalanche avoidance, avalanche rescue techniques and winter skills.

Large amounts of snow remain. The gully lines are still full on Beinn an Dothaidh with snow on the ledges. However the turf at 650 metres was not frozen and therefore may not be frozen on the routes.

Ski Touring in Arolla

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Steve and John on the summit of La Luette.

Last week I was ski touring in the Arolla area with Gordon, Steve and John on behalf of www.frostguiding.co.uk. We found lots of good snow for skiing with fresh tracks on spring snow on both the Tete Blanche and La Luette. Below is the details of where we went;

  • 9th April. The Arolla ski area and Pas de Chevre (2855m).
  • 10th April. Transceiver searches and crevasse rescue training near and around the Glacier de Tsijiore Neuve.
  • 11th April. The Cabane de Bertol (3268m). This is a long ascent and therefore it is worth leaving early in the morning before the day gets hot..
  • 12th April. The Tete Blanche (3724m).
  • 13th April. The Cabane des Dix (2928m).
  • 14th April. La Luette (3548m).
Skinning roped together on a glacier.

Skinning roped together on a glacier.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

Beinn a’Chaorainn

It has been another fantastic day in the Scottish Highlands with heavy snow showers this morning and brighter spells this afternoon.

The team and climbed the East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn. The route was in good condition. However, windslab was forming on the sides of the ridge and it is therefore worth sticking to the crest. Cornices were forming on the ridge at a number of locations.

Using a rope to safeguard navigation.

Using a rope to safeguard navigation.

Glencoe Ski Centre

Yesterday I was at Glencoe ski centre. Here we spent time looking at snow anchors, holding falls and understanding snow profiles.

There was still a good volume of snow for skills courses. The centre was closed for skiing.

Holding lead falls using a body belay and snow anchor.

Holding lead falls using a body belay and snow anchor.

Ski Touring in the Lawers Range

Today was the first day of my winter season. I was out with Andy and Martin from East Lothian Council who are soon to be running ski touring courses for young people and adults.

We spent the day in the Lawers Range near Loch Tay looking at teaching key skills such as kick turns and avalanche rescue techniques. The minor road was not passable so we skinned from the main road. There was a good quantity of snow up high although it was hard to tell how much as the visibility was very poor.

DSCF4543

Snowhole Expedition

When thoroughly planned, snowholing expeditions can be brilliant fun. I am just back from another successful overnight stay on Geal-charn in the Drummochter Pass. As can be seen from the photo, one of the great benefits of sleeping out in the mounatins is sunrises like we saw this morning!

There is still large quantities of snow in the Drummochter Pass giving plenty of opportunites for winter sports.

DSCF1338

Aonach Mor, Stob Coire nam Beith and An t Sron

Yesterday the team and I headed to Aonach Mor to practice avalanche rescue techniques and micro navigation. The plateau area of Aonach Mor is still completely white and some good ski options still exist.

Large cornices still exist on easterly aspects.

Today we were in Glencoe where we climbed to the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith and then traversed An t Sron. There is still plenty of snow in Glencoe and lots of options still exist for gully and buttress climbing.

The snow is very firm at the moment and good crampon technique is required.

Descending from the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith.

Descending from the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith.

Snowholing in the Drummochter Pass

On Thursday and Friday I was out building and staying in snowholes in the Drummochter Pass. There is still plenty of snow available for winter activities in the Pass and with careful route choice some great ski touring could still be had.

On the second day of our trip we climbed Geal-charn before practising slope stability tests and ice axe arrest.

The view from Geal-charn. Some great conditions still exist for ski touring.

The view from Geal-charn. Some great conditions still exist for ski touring.

Life in a snowhole. Inside the sleeping bag at 18.15!

Life in a snowhole. Inside the sleeping bag at 18.15!

Aonach Mor

It was a beautiful day today on Aonach Mor. We spent the day looking at avalanche rescue techniques, navigation and movement skills.

The ski conditions look good at the moment. Large cornices still exist on easterly aspects.

Check out the video on the climbnow facebook page to get a better idea of conditions.

Looking out to Ben Nevis from the summit of Aonach Mor.

Looking out to Ben Nevis from the summit of Aonach Mor.

Geal-charn

With the weather forecast to be very wet and windy on the west today the team and I opted to drive east to the Drummochter Pass. We were rewarded with a dry day and good periods of brightness.

During the day we covered skills such as the construction of snowholes and slope stability tests.

There is still excellent snow cover in the Drummochter Pass for ski touring.

Moving towards the summit of Geal-charn.

Moving towards the summit of Geal-charn.