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.
Today we visited Glencoe Ski centre. We spent the day looking at avalanche rescue techniques and snow anchors.
A number of pistes were open today and from a distance the skiing looked good.
The team and I climbed Buachaille Etive Beag today before spending time looking at avalanche rescue techniques near the col. The weather was not perfect with heavy rain for the first part of the ascent followed by heavy hail during the middle part of the ascent then heavy snow and 60 mph winds for the final ridge to the summit.
All the new snow was wet. With extreme winds forecast tomorrow we will be at lower elevations.
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.
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.
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.