Cairngorm Mixed Trip

John and I have been away with the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Cairngorm Mixed Climbing trip for the last three days. The lack of good winter conditions has meant it’s been a very mixed trip, but a good one.

On Monday we walked in to Coire an Spreidhe and climbed the Central Couloir (SMC Journal 2011) starting on dry rock and then putting on crampons for the majority of this good 300m mountaineering route. The snow was firm and made for easy progress between good stances.

The rope running down to Tony on the snowfields of Central Couloir.

The rope running down to Tony on the snowfields of Central Couloir.

On Tuesday we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda with the hope of an easy gully or possibly heading over to the Loch Avon basin. However, the very black state of the crags (even Fiacaill Couloir was very broken) made for a quick rethink and we walked out and drove to Duntelchaig, where we had an excellent afternoon’s rock climbing on Pinnacle Crag.

Me trying not to push to hard on the pinnacle of Pinnacle Crag. Photo Credit: J. Jackson.

Me trying not to push to0 hard on the pinnacle of Pinnacle Crag. Photo Credit: J. Jackson.

Today there was a forecast for very high winds at height and freezing levels well above the summits, so we drove south and spent the morning rock climbing at Creag na h-Eighe and the afternoon dry tooling at Newtyle.

Linda dry tooling at Newtyle.

Linda dry tooling at Newtyle.

A very mixed trip, but some good stuff done on each day and thanks to Graeme, Linda, Joanne and Tony for being open to suggestions to fit the unusual conditions.

Here Comes the Snow

Large volumes of snow arrived overnight in the Dolomites. This coincided today with an Italian Mountain Guides assessment in the gorge. This meant that less routes were available than normal. We did however have a great day climbing Cascata della Luna, Baby and another tricky mixed route.

Baby is currently not completely formed and requires mixed climbing (and trad kit) to get to the ice.

Ivor on one of the mixed routes in Serai di Sottoguda

Ivor on one of the mixed routes in Serai di Sottoguda

Ivor climbing Baby.

Ivor climbing Baby.

 

Cascata and a Little Bit of ‘M’

We have had another good day today in the Serai di Sottoguda. Highlights of the day were Cascata delle Attraversate and one of the new mixed routes in the gorge.

The Cascata was thinner than normal due to the lean season that the Dolomites is experiencing this year but still brilliant. It is probably harder than the suggested grade in the guidebook.

Ivor on the Cascata.

Ivor on the Cascata.

Graham on the 'M' route.

Graham on the ‘M’ route.

Coire an t-Sneachda

Martin leading The Message

Martin, John and I have been out today in Coire an t-Sneachda. We climbed The Message. The turf was frozen and the crag was very white. We walked out via Point 1141m. The snow cover on the plateau, the ridge we descended and the ski area looked excellent for ski touring.

Winter Climbing in the Cairngorms

Sharon enjoying the technical first pitch of Central Crack Route.

Sharon, Ian, Steve, Martin and I have had a great day out today in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorms). We climbed the classic Central Crack Route. This excellent climb gives varied mixed climbing with a number of variations possible in the upper section.

The conditions on the route were good. The turf was frozen and the buttress was very white. Lots of ice is forming including unhelpful verglas in the cracks. It should be noted that the approach to all routes at the moment requires care. This is due to there being no build up on the crag aprons giving difficult cramponing conditions.