Today Craig was out with a Falkirk Community Trust Winter Skills team and I was out with Michael and Stephen looking at Avalanche Awareness and Safe Travel. We shared transport and visited Beinn Ghlas near Ben Lawers.
A little damp on the hill at times today. Not much snow below 950m and that mostly on north and east facing aspects. The snow is generally well saturated. Some ice is holding on and the turf was still firm above 900m and out of drainage lines.
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.
I have been out today with Steve from Falkirk Community Trust completing a staff training day. We visited the Ochils were we climbed The Law, Ben Cleuch, Andrew Gannel Hill and King’s Seat Hill.
From the summits we had great views of mountains such as Ben Ledi and Ben Lawers among others. There was still plenty of snow visible and some good options may still exist for the adventurous skier!
The Falkirk High Tops Team and I have had a great day out today in the Lawers Range. From the high parking, we climbed to the base of Cam Chreag with the intention of climbing one of the gully routes on this buttress. However, as lots of debris was falling off the crag, we decided not to do this. Instead, we climbed steeply via a gully to the east of the crag to gain the ridge and summit of Meall Garbh.
After a lunch break on the summit, we had a brilliant descent on powder of Coire Riadhailt to the 650 metre contour. We then ascended back to the ridge before skiing back to the van.
We observed lots of recent avalanche activity on easterly and southerly aspects. Many more photos of the day can be seen on the facebook page.
Out with Falkirk Community Trust ski touring today with Euan, James, Fiona, Graeme, John, Jonathan, Tam and Tom in the Ben Lawers area.
We skinned up the Ben Lawers access road from the main road and up to the bealach between Meall Corranaich and Beinn Ghlas. The return gave us an excellent easy angled descent on untracked snow. The access road was drivable to near the top of the forestry without a specialist vehicle by the time we descended.
There is full snow cover in this area at the moment with the snow generally being soft and unconsolidated making travel without skis or snowshoes very time consuming. There was no significant precipitation whilst we were out, but some wind movement of snow in exposed areas on a South-Westerly/Westerly wind. Below freezing all day at higher levels. There’s crust on the snow lower down and the snow was becoming heavier at lower levels with rising temperatures. Sunshine on and off throughout the day.
Craig and Iona were also out near Killin looking at winter navigation and reported fairly hard going in the soft snow without skis.
Today I visited Stob Coire Nan Lochain in Glencoe with my team of trainee Winter Climbing Instructors. We spent the day climbing Wandering Wombat looking at guiding skills such as short roping, parallel roping and the use of a magic plate. The buttress routes were in good condition. Teams were out on a number of routes including Tilt and Central Grooves.
Yesterday we attempted to climb on Cam Chreag in the Ben Lawers area. We did not manage to get to the crag as there is so much snow in this area. Teams attempting hills in this area would be advised to have skis, snowshoes or a good headtorch and a lot of time.