Winter skills, avalanche awareness and avalanche rescue techniques this week with the Joint Services. We visited Glencoe Ski Centre, Aonach Dubh, A’Bhuidheanach Bheag and Cairn Gorm.
There is still a lot of wet snow around in a number of locations but a freeze is very much needed.
I have had a productive four days with the Joint Services. After climbing the Zig Zags on Monday we visited Aonach Dubh on Tuesday were we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, lots of snow and fully rimed.
Yesterday we visited the Cobbler and climbed Chockstone Gully and Maclays Crack. Both routes were very white and fully frozen.
Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress. The route was very white and fully frozen. We climbed the chimney version of the route today which was probably grade II/III.
During the four days we have seen no other climbers.
I have been on the West for four days with Joint Services. On Monday we climbed a wet Dinnertime Buttress before visiting the Ice Factor on Tuesday.
Yesterday we climbed the East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn under the new fresh snow. The turf underneath was variable.
Today we climbed the East Ridge of Stob Ban. The turf improved with height and was firm near the top.
Jon, Mikey and I have been out over the last couple of days. On Sunday we visited Glencoe and traversed the Aonach Eagach. We wore crampons for the whole ridge. Some sections are dry but not enough to warrant taking crampons off.
Yesterday we visited the Cairngorms and traversed Cairn Lochain and Cairn Gorm via Lurchers Gully, a descent into Coire Domhain and a final descent of the pistes. We wore skis for the whole journey excluding two minutes on the approach to Lurchers Gully and one minute on around Point 1083m.
More photos on the facebook page.
Levin and I have been out in Glencoe for the last two days. Yesterday we climbed Curved Ridge and Crowberry Tower on Buachaille Etive Mor. The route was in excellent condition. We descended via a snow bollard into Coire na Tulaich.
Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress on Aonach Dubh, Dorsal Arete in SCNL and descended Broad Gully in SCNL. Dinnertime Buttress didn’t require crampons until beyond the crux chimney. Dorsal Arete was in the best condition I have ever seen it in. Broad Gully was descended on good snow (although there was some shallow windslab).
Lots more photos on the facebook page.
Yesterday a team and I from Ballachulish climbed Pearly Gates in Stob Coire nan Lochan. We climbed the route on good snow ice.
Today, we climbed Oganach Chimney which is on the north side of Am Bodach (the start of the Aonach Eagach). This route was first climbed in December 2017 by Andy Nelson and Andy Hogarth. It gave a nice grade III in the current conditions. The turf was frozen today however the snow was not. It was very, very wet. The route will be excellent once it freezes again.
These two routes have two things in common; very few runners and few belays. If you find a good one, take it!
The lads and I visited Stob Coire nam Beith today. We found some shelter from the ferocious winds and the team did a great job leading a four pitch ice route near An t Sron at about grade III.
There are lots of single and multi pitch ice routes currently present in the coire that are not in the guidebook. These provide great opportunities for learning to lead without the commitment of being on a big route.
Today I have been in Stob Coire nan Lochan with a team from Ballachulish. There is still a good number of routes in condition and today the coire was quiet.
We climbed a line in the area around Langsam. The line we climbed was about IV 4 in standard. The ice was good for the axes but not for screws.
Boomerang and Broad Gullies in Stob Coire nan Lochan today. Both routes were in good condition.
Currently there are lots of routes to do up to grade IV in good condition in SCNL.
This week I am out with a team from Ballachulish looking at the skills required for guiding one climber on grade 2 winter routes. Yesterday, we visited the Pink Rib in Glencoe to look at short roping skills, the construction of belays and stance management. Today we put these skills into practice on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.
The East Ridge was in good condition with a good quantity of snow on it. The firmness of the snow improved with height. The turf was frozen.