Carn an Tuirc

Today Nettle and I visited Coire Kander on Carn an Tuirc near Glen Shee with a Falkirk Community Trust Ski Mountaineering team of Angus, Emanuelle and James. We skied from the road near where the Clunie Water passes underneath and up over the northern shoulder of Carn an Tuirc. The snow down in to Coire Kander had been catching the sun, so we dumped skis and walked down in to the coire before climbing a pleasant Grade I rib back to our skis.

Emanuelle, Angus, James and Nettle skinning up Carn an Tuirc.

We then skinned up to the summit of Carn an Tuirc before enjoying an excellent ski right back to the road. There was good cover from the road, although some eastern aspects are very scoured. Over 900m some very icy areas are present and there is some wind slab around. There are cornices over lots of aspects and good route choice is required, particularly in thawing conditions. The turf was well frozen on the crag. Snow and rime ice was very soft where it had been exposed to the sun, however it was generally very firm. It was sunny all day with light winds. A glorious day to be out in the hills and a great way to access Coire Kander.

Glen Shee

After I headed back up from down south yesterday Nettle and I were keen to get out in the hills today to blow the Christmas cobwebs away.

Nettle enjoying a Christmas snack under the summit of Creag Leacach.

Nettle enjoying a Christmas snack under the summit of Creag Leacach.

We headed for Glen Shee and very hopefully took ski touring gear thinking there was a small chance we might be able to link snow patches for a quick tour. The skis stayed firmly in the van and we headed out for a walk over Glas Maol; out and back to Creag Leacach, around to Druim Mor and up to Cairn of Claise. This took in three new Munros for Nettle and a new top for me and fitted the day well.

Nettle with Druim Mor behind.

Nettle with Druim Mor behind.

There were quite a lot of snow patches around higher up. The snow was generally wet and soft, but was firming up at height as the day wore on. The ground was saturated and above about 1000m some of the turf was still firm. Early on in the day it was raining continuously with this falling as sleet above 900m. The rain eased off early in the morning with just the odd hail or sleet shower in the afternoon. Strong southerly winds through the day and these were increasing in strength to above 50mph at height as we descended.

Glen Shee Skiing

Ivor and I joined the Falkirk Community Trust minibus heading to Glen Shee today. There was low cloud most of the day and the light was very flat, so we skied mostly on the pistes. Mike and a group were looking at technique in the morning, before personal skiing in the afternoon to reinforce new skills.

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A fresh Southerly wind today. No new snow fall during the day. The pistes have generally good cover, but away from the pistes or sheltered areas the snow is often scoured back to the heather.

Glen Shee, The Stuic & Lochnagar

Nettle and I have been away for the last couple of days. We headed North on Wednesday morning with a big thaw forecast through the day; freezing levels above the summits and rain from the West. We stopped for a leg stretch and nipped up Duchray Hill between Glen Shee and Glen Isla. There were still snow patches from about 500m up on East facing aspects, but it rained on and off and the snow pack was reducing fast.

Nettle near the summit of Duchray Hill on Wednesday

Nettle near the summit of Duchray Hill on Wednesday

Snow was forecast overnight last night on Westerly winds with temperatures dropping and staying cold through the day today, so we chose to head up to The Stuic on Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach. This is a fair walk in, but it has routes that would be facing the wind and have a good chance of refreezing fast and if it hadn’t refrozen we could do the ridge of The Stuic as a scramble.

Nettle on The Stuic

Nettle on The Stuic

Our decision payed off and we were able to climb Daybreak Corners, a good short route, and then continue up The Stuic.

Above The Black Spout on Lochnagar

Above The Black Spout on Lochnagar

It wasn’t a day for hanging around, so we then took in the summit of Carn a Coire Bhoidheach before heading up to Lochnagar and then out to the top of Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe before descending back in to the delightful Ballochbuie Forest.

The view from the summit of Lochnagar

The view from the summit of Lochnagar

Lots of wind movement of fresh snow today on strong Westerly winds and windslab was developing on sheltered aspects. Turf was well frozen where exposed to the wind above 800m. Old snow patches were refreezing throughout the day. Lots of ice around on the plateau, but no significant snow cover except in sheltered locations. Fresh snow to road level at the Glenshee ski centre on our drive back down.

Craigenloch Hill on skis

Yesterday, the Falkirk High Tops Team and I visited Glen Shee. We had hoped to park near the ski centre but the snow gate was closed at the Spittal preventing us going up the hill. Therefore, we parked further down the Glen and completed Craigenloch Hill on skis. This gave a lovely tour with good snow for our descent.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Ski touring with Craigenloch Hill beyond.

Ski touring with Craigenloch Hill beyond.

Glen Shee

Ivor and I were out for a quick ski yesterday at Glen Shee to get the ski legs going again and to make use of the better weather, which lasted until late afternoon.

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The snow was good on most of the pistes, though scoured off on unsheltered southerly slopes. Cloud throughout most of the day and the light was flat. Not a day for many photos on the hill, hence the car park shot, which shows the main chairlift on the eastern side. Raining/snowing heavily on South-East/East winds as we drove south; this would have all been falling as snow at the ski area.

Glen Shee Ski Tour

Pamela, Nettle and I were out for a ski tour in the Glen Shee area today, as the East definitely seemed to be the place head again based on the weather.

Skinning up Carn Aosda

Skinning up Carn Aosda

It was raining heavily as we drove up, but 30 minutes of route planning allowed the rain to turn to snow, stop and some blue ski to appear. We skinned up through the ski area to Carn Aosda, before a good gentle run around to the the bealach above Loch Vrotachan.

Traversing on the return from Carn a'Gheoidh

Traversing on the return from Carn a’Gheoidh

We then put skins back on and headed out via Carn nan Sac to Carn a’Gheoidh in decreasing visibility and a fresh South West wind. As we descended from Carn a’Gheoidh blue skys returned and we had a delightful wind assisted ski back East then North-East before skinning up the Cairnwell in increasing winds. We finished with an excellent run back down the piste to the ski centre.

On the way up the Caurnwell with Carn nan Sac behind

On the way up the Cairnwell with Carn nan Sac behind

The overnight and early rain had stabilised the old wind slab and most of the ski-ing was on firm snow with an icey crust. We only encountered a few small areas of very localised fresh wind slab, but there was considerable wind movement of snow during the day. Snowing lightly at the road level as we left. All in all an excellent day out.