Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Saturday, 6 February 2010

06-02-10, Cairngorms - Winter Skills

Today I have been working on a PJ Mountains Winter Skills course. I was out with Jon and Tim, they are competent summer hill walkers and have done some climbing before but never ventured out in the snow in winter. We ascended Meall a Buachaille via Glenmore and Ryvoan bothy. The thaw is taking its toll on slopes lower than 500m. The path to Ryvoan is very clear and the track up to Buachaille is exposed some of the way up. The snow we found was very saturated and heavy. The snow that had arrived by Thursday is getting melted and bonding itself to the lower snow pack lowering the avalanche hazard. Freezing temperature was just above the summit (850m+) today but with a forecast of lower temps and clear skies this coming week should make the climbing conditions excellent.

We looked at navigation, walking on snow with the axe, crampons and did some ice axe arrest practice. There is more availability on Winter Skills courses this year...

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