Winter Mountain Leader Training

This week I have been helping to deliver a Winter Mountain Leader Training course. There is large accumulations of snow in many locations. Careful studying of the avalanche forecasts and careful route choice is necessary in the current conditions.

Winter Mountain Leader

This week I have been instructing on a Winter Mountain Leader training course for Ballachulish. We have visited; Stob Mhic Mhartuin, Beinn an Dothaidh, the Cairngorms, the Nid on Aonach Mor and tomorrow we are going to Beinn Dorain.

It has been a week of mixed weather with the first half as good as it gets and the last couple of days less so! 80mph winds, rain and very poor visibility. All good training though for those aiming to complete this award.

Winter Mountain Leader

Today I have been out assessing on a Winter Mountain Leader course. We visited the flank of Beinn Dorain. It was a beautiful day with the odd snow shower.

Winter Mountain Leader Assessment

This week I have been helping to deliver a Winter Mountain Leader Assessment. Following a day in Glencoe and a day in Lochaber earlier in the week, the last three days have been in the Cairngorms.

Large volumes of snow have accumulated in the Cairngorms over the last couple of days. Given the weather on Saturday I would expect significant avalanche activity and careful attention should be paid to the SAIS forecasts.

Testing navigational conditions in the Cairngorms.

Testing navigational conditions in the Cairngorms.

 

Winter Mountain Leader Training

As I reported on the 17th January, this week I have been involved in delivering a Winter Mountain Leader training course.

On Wednesday we had another day out in Glencoe before spending Thursday and Friday in the Cairngorms. In both areas the snow that remains is very firm and crampons are essential.

More photos can be seen on the facebook page.

A beautiful evening in the Cairngorms.

A beautiful evening in the Cairngorms.

Glencoe and Aonach Mor

This week I am instructing on a Winter Mountain Leader course. Yesterday we were at Glencoe ski centre looking at teaching winter skills. Large patches of snow still exist but not enough for skiing.

Today we were at Aonach Mor looking at leading groups in steep ground. We completed the session on the east side of the mountain were large patches of snow can still be found.

Steep ground training on Aonach Mor.

Steep ground training on Aonach Mor.

Winter Mountain Leader

This week I am instructing on a Winter Mountain Leader course. Yesterday we were at the White Corries looking at the teaching of winter skills. Today we were on the Nid at Aonach Mor looking at managing groups on steep ground and snow anchors.

Lots of snow remains in the high corries and gullies. However, a refreeze is now required to bring the majority of routes back into condition with rockfall currently an issue.

Using stompers on the Nid.

Using stompers on the Nid.

Creag Meagaidh and Beinn a’Chaorainn

For the past two days I have been out snow holing and winter mountaineering with the Winter Mountain Leader course. We ascended on Wednesday to an area behind the window on Creag Meagaidh and following a few hours navigation we built snow holes. After a few hours sleep we ascended Creag Meagaidh and traversed Beinn a’Chaorainn before returning via a difficult micro navigation area in the dark on the south side of Creag Meagaidh. Following a one hour dinner stop we returned to the window and the valley. Large avalanches had released in the window area very close to the normal route of ascent. The snowpack in the whole massif is very wet and there are many large wet cornices still present above climbing areas.

The Winter Mountain Leader assessment is a physically and mentally challenging assessment of an individuals winter mountaineering skills. All the candidates should be congratulated for their efforts over the last week.

Navigating on the summit of Beinn a'Choarainn on the 31st January in much better weather than we have had over the last two days.

Navigating on the summit of Beinn a’Chaorainn on the 31st January in much better weather than we have had over the last two days!

Aonach Mor

Yesterday (12/02/13), I was out and about on Aonach Mor with the Winter Mountain Leader course looking at security on steep ground. The ground was very well frozen with lots of good snow around. The conditions are set to change rapidly with todays weather.

Steep ground on Aonach Mor.

Steep ground on Aonach Mor.

White Corries

It was a beautiful, cold day in Glencoe today. This week I am assessing potential Winter Mountain Leaders. We visited the area around the Glencoe ski field to look at teaching winter skills. The ski area was fairly busy. There is some excellent skiing to be had at the moment with powder on top of a hard base.

Practising winter skills near the Glencoe Ski Centre.