Sunday, 31 January 2010
Another cold dry day in the Cairngorms. I was working for Walkabout Scotland again with Sarah and Scott on the second day of a winter skills course. We headed to Glen Feshie and ascended Carn Ban Mor. It was windy at times but didn't really snow despite dark grey skies. The cloud base was at about 850m so meant we had to use various navigational techniques to find the summit and the snow hole site. We looked at pacing, timings and walking on bearings. We managed to find some steep sections of neve which had formed from snow being blown in over the last couple of weeks, allowing us to practice front pointing and daggering with the axe (right Scott). We also dug out some emergency shelters in the snow drifts, both Sarah and Scott immediately appreciated it is a lot easier with a snow shovel than just your axe!
If you would like to gain some winter skills to stay safe in the mountains in winter this year visit www.pjmountains.co.uk/winter.html.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
There was about 2 inches of snowfall last night, this has been blown about a bit, allowing us to find both powder snow and hard neve. This was good as it gave us a chance to practice step cutting, cramponing and ice axe arrest.
We didn't see many people all day but reports from the top of the hill say the skiing was excellent but the queues were not! I imagine the ski touring will be fantastic at the moment.
Friday, 29 January 2010
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
lines on Beinn Dearg. However when we arrived at the car park it was raining and the temperature was plus 10 degrees. Knowing that the rain would still be rain on the summit of the mountain we decided that ice climbing wasn't order of the day! While we were up in the North West with such tropical temperatures, armoured with big boots, quick draws, 10 nuts, 3 hexs and 10 ice screws we went rock climbing.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
The crux of the route for us was the third pitch with a left variation. Ice was thin and precarious, gear wasn't very satisfying (below)! After about 200m of climbing you can traverse off left across the mountain at mid-height following your nose between the gully lines and ledges.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
The weather was mixed, Saturday was snowing, down to 400m with a slight easterly wind and today was much windier (easterly) but with better visibility.
Coire an t-Sneachda was busy with climbers today. All the easy gullies were full of teams, Haston Line on Mess of Pottage, Doctors Choice, Alladdins Direct, Fluted Buttress, Fingers Ridge on the main buttress, Bellhaven and Invernookie on Fiaciall were all being climbed. There is a powdery layer on top of the firm ice/neve from last week, which will be moving to form wind slab on West-South facing slopes.
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
With the freezing level forecast to be considerably lower today we had a punt and tried to go climbing on Sgorr Ruadh, which relies on cold weather for the mixed turfy lines. The walk was long but fairly mellow, and the buttress, with even less snow than Beinn Eighe yesterday. Freezing level was at about 600m, well below the crag. However we couldn't justify doing any winter climbing on the crag as the rock wasn't white or verglassed, more like v.v.cold summer rock climbing.
Kath, Gaz, Matt and myself made the long walk into Beinn Eighe in Torridon. With no climbing reports for the area we were still hopeful to climb one of the classic buttresses of the Triple Buttress (right). However the thaw has unfortunately badly affected the North-west of Scotland. The freezing level was at about 1000m today and as the buttress came into view our fears were quickly realised. So in order to salvage the day we went up Fuselage Gully I. This turned out to be a great gully climb, made particularly memorable because of the Lancaster Bomber remains from 1952 which provides the crux of the route.
Liathach back corries have very thin ice smears and again little snow. So the classic ice climbs like Poachers are out.
Saturday, 16 January 2010
http://www.pjmountains.co.uk/ is now online. Climbing and Mountaineering courses to suit your needs. There is plenty of availability for Winter Skills courses in Scotland, but also Rock Climbing courses in Snowdonia or Peak District during the summer.
Competitive prices and assurance you will be instructed/guided/coached by a fully qualified, very experienced Mountaineering Instructor and AMI member.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
After working at the weekend in Southern Snowdonia, I can report that Maesglase Falls IV,4, near Dollgellau is in great condition, 200m of fat ice.
Very cold, a fair amount of the Mawdach Estuary is frozen. Penmeanpool, looked like Antarctica, with massive blocks of ice floating. Snow down to sea level but was definitely thawing out by Sunday.
Today I was out climbing with Kathryn and Dave, we sort out this classic climb - Mask of Death V,5 (5,4,2). The ice accepted screws and axes very well, the first pitch was steep grade V,5 and the second shorter and stepped IV,4. Overall excellent *** route.
Friday, 8 January 2010
Another beautiful day today. Another early return to the Idwal before the masses arrived. Myself and Kathryn left the Car park in the dark and there were still 12+ people in front! We climbed Chicane Gully III,3 (3,3). A nice ice pitch to start then some mixed turf on the second. Most routes are being climbed every minute there is daylight. Below is a list of routes that people have been climbing: Idwal Stream, South Gully, Central Gully, Chicane Gully, Devil's Pipes, The Ramp, The Screen, The Curtain (Photo), Devil's Pasture, Devil's Appendage (new VII route but bottom left icicle has disappeared!), Devil's Kitchen, Devil's Appendix, The Sting and The Devil's Cellar... phew.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Today I was climbing with Kathryn and Luke. We got up early and managed to be the 4th team in the Cwm and the first on Central Route III,3 (3,2) which is an ace two pitch route. After, we quickly descended the kitchen it was to the back of the queue for The Devils Cellar IV,4 (4,4). The wait was worth it as yet another excellent ice route.
The ice seems to be getting fatter, low temperatures but still dripping in the day then refreezing at night. -2 degrees in Ogwen car park this evening so set to continue...
Picture featured right is the Luke leading the first pitch of The Devils Cellar, below is the glorious cwm.