I’m just back from four days based in Aviemore with Alex and Doug. The weather wasn’t particularly helpful, but we got something good done on each day.
On Sunday we headed to Lurcher’s Crag to avoid the crowds and descended South Gully before climbing a thin, but good, ice in Eskimo Gully on Lurcher’s Crag.
On Monday we climbed Captain Fairweather and Flood Warning on Creagan Cha-no to avoid the forecast high winds. Most of the rockier routes were black, but these lines had plenty of soft snow and very hard turf. On Tuesday with the freezing level above the summits and quite a bit of moisture in the air we climbed a somewhat soggy Central Gully and the bottom two pitches of Goat Track Gully in Coire an t-Sneachda.
Today with freezing levels above the summits again we opted for some dry cragging at Pinnacle Crag, Duntelchaig. The guys climbed nine routes up to Severe 4b in big boots and in Doug’s case without removing his gloves!
The weather forecast was better today for the east coast. Therefore we headed for the Cairngorms. Here we visited Creagan Coire Cha-no.
Due to the rise in temperatures overnight most of the crag is now out of winter condition. However, Captain Fairweather was still completely white so we climbed this. The snow on the route was moist but the turf was still well frozen.
Much of the snow on the approach to the route was frozen and crampons were required for the descent back to the car.
Euan, Ivor, Nettle and I were out climbing in the Cairngorms today. We visited Creagan Coire Cha-no. The buttresses weren’t rimed, so the steeper rocky lines weren’t justifiable today. However, the turf was well frozen, old neve was very solid and there was snow on the easier angled lines.
We had a very pleasant day climbing a number of routes and getting to know some bits of the crag we hadn’t visited before. Euan and I started with Captain Fairweather, whilst Nettle and Ivor climbed Plasma Gully with a possible new steep finish on it’s left. Nettle and Ivor then climbed Captain Fairweather, whilst Euan and I checked out the North end of the crag and climbed a possible new line up the gully immediately left of Once Were Alpinists and finished with a quick solo of Wide Gully.
It was well below freezing at the crag all day, with clear skies until late in the afternoon. Southerly / South-westerly winds were very light early on, but increased during the day with some transport of soft snow on to the sheltered areas of the crag rim e.g. the top of Wide Gully. Unfortunately, it looks like freezing levels are heading above the summits during the day tomorrow. Euan has put some more photos from today on the Climbnow Facebook page and Nettle has put some on the Routes Mountain Sport Facebook page.