Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Friday, 4 February 2011

04-02-11, Glen Coe, West Highlands - Winter Climbing and Mountaineering

I have spent the last week over on the west. The weather and conditions have been very mixed. On Tuesday I went climbing with Lawrence in Stob Coire nan Lochan. It was very windy, the buttresses were black and freezing level was high. The snow level was at the lochan, with some new soft slab forming, but not too much of a worry. We climbed Langsam, II and descended Broad Gully. Wednesday and Thursday I was working on the second half of a Winter Mountaineering course at Plas y Brenin. A big thaw kicked in with lots of rain, so Wednesday we retreated to the Ice Factor, did some ice climbing in the freezer and taught the group various ways to tie into anchors, tie off belay plates, escape the system, and abseil using prussiks. Thursday we headed to the White Corries to do some Navigation and Emergency shelter digging. The morning started fine, blue skies and fresh snow down to the road, but by midday the second storm arrived heralding strong winds and more snow. The avalanche hazard will be high for a while, as lots of new snow has fallen and it is very windy. Snow will be getting transported all over, with plenty of cross loading of wind slab.

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