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.
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.
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).
There are many more photos on the facebook page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.