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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Another great Cairngorm snow-hole expedition with Stuart and Dave.


The forecast for later in the week were for the winds to increase to storm force as winter returns.
With more manageable westerly winds of less than 80 mph and an overnight freeze forecast for Monday night, Stuart, Dave and myself headed up Cairngorm for our planned snow-hole expedition.

As we battled the up the hill I was surprised how much snow loss there had been from the previous day and concerned that we might have an uncomfortable night in a collapsed dripping snow-hole!

Thankfully we arrived just in time to claim and remodel our snow cave for the night.

As the temperatures dropped and the snow firmed up the guys sculptured a lovely line of steps to lessen the discomforts and hazards of going for a night time call of nature without crampons, it worked well!!

There were a couple of other teams up for the night but once inside our dry icy frozen shelter it felt like we had the whole mountain to ourselves and we enjoyed a very comfortable night.

Today after breakfast we headed up to Cairngorm's gusty summit before heading back down, taking great care not to slip on any hard snow and water ice!

On our last day we avoided the 90 mph plus winds and had a more relaxed instructional day looking at micro navigation.

The good news is that winter returns over the next day or so and just in the nick of time!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Weekend and five day Winter Skills Expedition

Despite the mild temperature we had a fun weekend of winter skills with Annie, John, Craig, Stuart and Dave looking at ice axe and crampon use, navigation, avalanche awareness, emergency snow shelters and basic winter rope-work and belays. 

It's a lot to take in during a weekend and really only give a taster of winter so Stuart and Dave are staying on until Wednesday for the snow-hole expedition and to consolidate their winter skills and micro-navigation.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cairngorm Denali Expedition Training with Colin

A great three days of private winter mountaineering training with Colin on the 13-15 February 2017.

We even had specially arranged fierce winds and driving spindrift on Colin's overnight Cairngorm Denali exped training then calm and sun the following morning while ascending the fixed ropes on Cairngorm's Denali headwall...!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Cairngorm Club Winter Skills Weekend

Another snowy and bitterly cold weekend of winter skills, so perfect!

On day one ice axe and crampon training as well as weather avalanche awareness.
We found an interesting NE facing snow profile showing a very weak easily released layer (air gap) deep within a snow drift at around 700 metres, one to watch out for and a reminder of the big release in Coire Laugh Mor last year, see photo below!

On day two it was Minus 20 (wind chill) and another proper winters day out with the Cairngorm Club looking at micro navigation, avalanche awareness, emergency snow shelters and some basic ropework to deal with cornices.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Snow and cornices continuing to build!

Another day of private guiding with Ed, James, Russ and Ben. Even more snow today with tiring trail breaking up to Ciste Mhearad and Cnap Coire na Spreidhe.
We had a look at winter navigation, mountaineering skills, ropework, avalanche assessment and winter snow shelters.

Even managed to set of a small cornice triggered avalanche when abseiling off a big soft snow bollard which provided an excellent teaching opportunity!

For skiers there's now plenty of newly pisted snow on the upper Ptarmigan area and on the tow track and the Ciste Gully is filling in :-)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Fine wintry conditions for Winter Climbing and Coaching!

Full on winter with tons of snow, good neve, light winds reasonable viz and a multi-ab on a low avalanche risk aspect for a really cracking day of winter climbing and coaching with Andrew... :-)

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Great winters fun on the Edge!

On Sunday, with lots of  fresh snow and strong winds resulting in a considerable avalanche risk we avoided the high risk gullies and had a great day climbing a snow plastered Mhearad's Right Edge with some of the Nottingham University MC winter mountaineering team.
Full details on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CairngormMountainGuides/ and our blog at http://talisman-activities.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Full on winter on Nottingham's Uni MC winter weekend!

A great few days with a great team of instructors, Jonathan, Mungo, Hannah, Emma and myself on Nottingham Uni MC's annual winter skills weekend.

In contrast to the high winds and low cloud on Saturday, Sunday was a more pleasant and snowy day with a considerable avalanche risk.

Mungo and I headed up and over Cairngorm's shoulder onto the safer wind scoured slopes for some more winter mountaineering while Hannah and Emma had a good journey round the Cas headwall to Cairngorm's summit with the students consolidating their winter skills.

Jonathan's winter climbing team made a challenging ascent of Central LH and onto the Rib to avoid a rather large developing cornice above Central Gully.

We also had Tim out Guiding Andrew on the Hastom Line and Hidden Chimney which like Central Gully had a lot of fresh snow but on partially frozen ground and some suspect unfrozen rock.

#scotwinter #Cairngorms #Aviemore #winterskills #winterclimbing #wintermountaineering #winterconditions