Southern Highlands, Cairngorms and Coire na Tulaich

It has been a busy few days on the Winter Mountain Leader course with a  visit to the North East corie of Beinn an Dothiadh,  a snowhole expedition on the Cairngorm plateau and a visit to Coire na Tulaich to build emergency snow shelters.

The big gully lines are still complete in Beinn an Dothiadh and will be good given a freeze. The Cairngorm plateau still has good cover for ski touring although it is currently very firm.

Andy Hogarth making a brew in our snowhole.

Andy Hogarth making a brew in our snowhole.

Four Days and a One Night Exped

For the past four days I have been based in Ballachulish. On Monday the team and I completed a winter skills session at the Glencoe ski centre. The cover for skiing is currently excellent.

We went to Aonach Mor on Tuesday to complete a micro navigation session on the plateau in winds gusting up to 60mph and whiteout conditions. These conditions were perfect for what we wanted to achieve. The snow cover in the ski area was good although the plateau was mostly bare nice.

For the past two days we have been snowholing in the Creag Meagaidh massif climbing Na Cnapanan, Meall an t-Snaim and Carn Liath. The cover on the ridges of the massif is currently excellent for ski touring. There was two large avalanches in Coire Ardair either during last night or early this morning.

The Buachaille on Monday.

The Buachaille on Monday.

Nearing the summit of Carn Liath.

Nearing the summit of Carn Liath.

Snowhole Expedition

When thoroughly planned, snowholing expeditions can be brilliant fun. I am just back from another successful overnight stay on Geal-charn in the Drummochter Pass. As can be seen from the photo, one of the great benefits of sleeping out in the mounatins is sunrises like we saw this morning!

There is still large quantities of snow in the Drummochter Pass giving plenty of opportunites for winter sports.

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Snowholing in the Drummochter Pass

On Thursday and Friday I was out building and staying in snowholes in the Drummochter Pass. There is still plenty of snow available for winter activities in the Pass and with careful route choice some great ski touring could still be had.

On the second day of our trip we climbed Geal-charn before practising slope stability tests and ice axe arrest.

The view from Geal-charn. Some great conditions still exist for ski touring.

The view from Geal-charn. Some great conditions still exist for ski touring.

Life in a snowhole. Inside the sleeping bag at 18.15!

Life in a snowhole. Inside the sleeping bag at 18.15!