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.

Cairngorms and Glencoe

Yesterday the team and I travelled from Ballachulish to the Cairngorms in search of dry weather. We were rewarded with a beautiful day and evening. Throughout the day we visited; Coire an-t Sneachda, the Goat Track, Coire Domhain, Feith Buidhe and Cairn Lochan.

Wherever we encountered snow it was firm and crampons were required on all steeper sections.

Today the rain was torrential on the west coast. We visited Glencoe ski centre and spent the day doing avalanche rescue techniques. The snow was disappearing fast.

The team in Coire Domhain.

The team in Coire Domhain.

Glencoe Ski Centre

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.

Buachaille Etive Mor.

Buachaille Etive Mor this morning.

Wild, Wet and Windy on Buachaille Etive Beag

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.

A windy summit.

A windy summit.

Searching for a transceiver.

Searching for a transceiver.

Winter Skills and Avalanche Awareness

Over the past couple of days I have been out with a team looking at essential winter skills, micro navigation, avalanche awareness and avalanche rescue techniques.

Yesterday we visited Glencoe ski area and today we ascended Aonach Mor. There is good cover for skiing at both areas.

Of note is that there was significant spontaneous avalanches in Glencoe today.

Bill navigating in the white room.

Bill navigating in the white room.

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.

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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.

Aonach Mor

It has been a beautiful day in Lochaber today. The team and I were out on Aonach Mor looking at navigation skills and avalanche rescue techniques. Massive cornices exist on easterly aspects while westerly aspects were well scoured.

The ski conditions at Nevis Range looked excellent today.

Two of the team preparing to do a transceiver search.

Two of the team preparing to do a transceiver search.