The Cairngorms

The last three days John and I have been climbing in the Cairngorms with a Falkirk Outdoors Mixed Climbing Team of Alan, B and Devon with Robin making a guest appearance today. We hit a pretty good weather window and climbed in Coire an t-Sneachda, on Stag Rocks and on Creagan Cha-no. Various teams climbed The Seam; Goat Track Gully and it’s right hand start (on thin but climbable ice); Albino; Purge; Chimney Rib with the alternative start; Anvil Gully; The Blood is Strong and Cutty Sark.

Me, B and Devon on Cutty Sark today.

The turf was well frozen throughout the three days on the routes we climbed. There wasn’t a lot of old snow around, but what was there was good neve. Fresh snow was being moved by strong winds in to sheltered locations, generally north and east facing. The fresh snow was unconsolidated and wind slab was forming in sheltered areas. The lack of much consolidated snow means there are some loose blocks around and care is required. Having said all that the temperatures are warming up, so things will be changing rapidly. There are lots of photos on The ClimbNow Facebook page.

Creagan Cha-no

Nettle and I had a quick outing to Creagan Cha-no today overlooking Strath Nethy. The conditions on the crag were excellent with good snow ice and firm snow, well frozen turf, rocks rimed and with cornices reduced by recent thaws and scoured by the Easterly and South-Easterly winds. There were small accumulations of new wind slab developing in sheltered locations, but these were more significant on Northerly and North-Westerly aspects on the approach from Coire na Ciste than at the crag.

Nettle setting off on the 1st pitch of Jenga Buttress

We climbed Jenga Buttress, which has a very good second pitch with fun technical climbing for the grade, and Cutty Sark, which although only a single pitch packs in a lot of good climbing. We descended via Recovery Gully to access the routes. One other team on the crag who I think climbed Duke’s Rib and Fingers and Thumbs. Pamela and B climbed Wavelength in Coire an t-Sneachda today and reported good climbing conditions, but gear difficult to dig out under the firm snow. They also reported significant accumulations of new windslab in the gully exits and a second hand report of an avalanche on Alladins Mirror.

Nettle looking happy near the top of Jenga Buttress

Myself near the start of Cutty Sark. Photo courtesy of J.Foden.