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.

Cairngorms

Today Ivor and I managed our first day of winter climbing this season with a trip to Creagan Coire a’Cha-no in the Cairngorms. We climbed “The Blood is Strong” on the Blood Buttress. This was good value for the grade on the day with lot’s of interest in the many short corners. After this the spindrift got the better of us and we headed for home.

Ivor abseiling in to the crag. The notch to his right is the top of Anvil Gully.

The wind was transporting lots of snow around and there were a couple of hours of snow showers during the day. It was relatively sheltered down on the crag, but this shelter meant lots of soft snow building on the ledges, which had to be cleared and some sizable cornices developing, particularly above Wide Gully. The turf was frozen on the route. Slopes at height that were being scoured by the wind had very little snow on them.

Ivor belaying on “The Blood is Strong”.