Monadh Liath

With a forecast of low winds, sunshine and a frost I decided to go for a run up some hills behind Kingussie today. I took in Beinn Bhreac; the Corbett of Carn an Fhreiceadain; Carn Coire na h-Inghinn; Creag Dhubh and Creag Mhor. They’re not the most dramatic hills, but with superb views in today’s low sunlight and long shadows.

Summit of Beinn Bhreac with the view west behind.

Beinn Bhreac and Carn an Fhreiceadain are now tracked right over their summits and could potentially be a good choice if the grounds very wet or for a mountain bike or ski touring ascent (as the tracks will tend to hold snow). There was a frost from the valley up today with ice on the tracks. The thaw of the last week or so has severely reduced the snow cover with only patches above about 700m and continuous snow only visible in major features and around coire rims above about 900m. The turf had a surface freeze, but wasn’t fully frozen at around 880m (my highpoint for the day). The best snow cover I could see today appeared to be on the Fannichs, which were visible in the distance. There are more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page. Happy New Year! Wilf.

Meall nan Tarmachan

Mike and I were out on Meall nan Tarmachan today with a Falkirk Outdoors Ski Touring team of Alan and Caroline. We shared the minibus with Craig and the High Tops team who changed their objective for the day based on the condition of the road above the Ben Lawers parking and took in Meall Corranaich and Meall a’Choire Leith.

Mike, Alan and Caroline just before starting to skin up on the ascent.

There was snow cover down to 400m. We parked at the parking area at 470m and the road had hard pack snow and ice at this level. We were able to skin up from near where the Meall nan Tarmachan path leaves the track and skinned up east of the path before cutting back to the ridge and heading up to pt. 923m. We skied down a short way on to the east face on deep, but heavy wet snow, before returning to the col north of pt. 923m. A good descending traverse on the west face allowed us to return to the ridge, which we then skied down to the track.

Alan descending in poor visibility.

The snow (and turf) was saturated at all levels. Generally good cover on most aspects above 700m with North and East slopes having deep accumulations. Much easier travelling on skis today than on foot, but the wet and heavy snow made turning difficult.

Glen Coe

Alex, Leon and I had a great time climbing Sgorr na Ciche (The Pap of Glencoe) today.

Alex, Leon and me just below the rock band on the west ridge.

There was snow from about 400m on the way up and a good depth of soft snow above 600m, with deep accumulations on north to east aspects. Winds were light north-westerly to westerlies and there was no significant precipitation during the day. The freezing level was about summit height, but dropping later on.

Lowther Hills

Last Thursday I took the opportunity to go for a quick run up East Mount Lowther, Cold Moss and Lowther Hill to break the journey on my way back from Derbyshire. These hills are great for a quick hit on the way up the M74 as they’re not far off the motorway, have a high start and tracks, paths and short grass make for good running. There was a dusting of snow above about 600m.

Rimed marker post on The Southern Upland Way.

Costa Blanca and Dinnertime Buttress

Following last weeks first aid course and climbing in the Costa Blanca, yesterday I climbed a blustery Dinnertime Buttress in Glencoe with the Falkirk High Tops Team.

Nearly all the snow has gone from Glencoe.

Glen Clova

Euan and I took a gamble today that the ice and turf would have remained frozen in Coire Farchal, Glen Clova. We also thought that less snow on the ground would mean less wading to get to the crag than in some areas and the lower height would mean lower winds.

Euan climbing ice on the right of the second steep step in the lower gully.

Thankfully, the gamble paid off with a snow line just below crag height and although the air temperature was above freezing the turf was frozen and the ice was hanging on. We had a great time climbing The Art of Growing Old Gracefully, which has a good amount of climbing in lean conditions.

Euan near the top of the final chimney.

HML Training

On Friday and over the weekend I was working with John for Falkirk Outdoors on an HML Training for Gene, Jane, Kate and Ross. We visited the Touch Hills; Ben Gullipen/Beinn Dearg near Loch Venachar and John’s Hill and Lamb Hill in the Ochils.

John and the group on to of John’s Hill.

Lurcher’s Crag

Last Wednesday Euan and I had an excellent day climbing Husky on Lurcher’s Crag in the Cairngorms. We approached from the top and abseiled down the route before climbing out as the crags were fairly heavily loaded with snow.

Euan on Husky.

Glen Coe, Menteith Hills, Ochils, Peak District and The Pentlands

This is a bit of a catch-up Blog Post. Between the 31st of October and the 12th November I was out and about with a variety of groups.

John, Linda and Olesya on Sron na Lairig.

This included a very Alpine style scramble in Glen Coe, an HML Assessment in Central Scotland, rock climbing at Birchen Edge in the Peak District and Navigation in the Pentlands.

Andy and Rob at Birchen.

For more photos and details see the ClimbNow Facebook page. Wilf.

Craigpark Quarry

Recently Martin and I went to Craigpark Quarry near Ratho. 4 of the 6 sport routes were clean and good fun.