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Monday, 28 April 2014

Sparkling hidden gems and crystals!








A lovely warm sunny day so dragged Fi away from the removal packing for a little jaunt up the local hills and some early evening climbing :-)
A few weeks ago while climbing on Aladdin's Seats Pinnacle, I was reminded of a winter line we had climbed with a client Chris a few years ago, as a continuation of Patey's Route on the upper rock ribs.
Our route climbed icey grooves and a chimney just to the right, then onto the upper pinnacled sharks fin on the right edge of Aladdins Couloir. See http://talisman-activities.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/windy-and-warmer.html
It's a natural and finely situated line, although the continuation of the Original Route, Aladdins Seat Pinnacle onto the upper sharks fin of Aladdin's Right Edge is strangely missing from modern guidebooks?
I suggested to Fi  that we should climb this line direct in the summer as the rock on the crest of the upper fin, like the Pinnacle, looked fairly sound.
When I suggested this Fi, like myself wasn't keen on the middle, loose, blocky, scramble between Original Route and the Pinnacle of Aladdin's Seat.
I then suggested that we could instead descend the Grade 1 snow of Aladdins Couloir from the plateau to the upper Righthand Edge start.
It would be good alpine preparation for our annual trip the Alps, to climb it in big boots with a short 30 metre half rope and small scrambling rack.


I really wasn't sure what the grade the direct rock line was, but somehow knew I could take the most direct and exposed line, which we did, although the blank slabby wall and balancey friction moves would have been more fun in rock boots rather than dripping wet B3 mountaineering boots!
We climbed the upper edge in two and a bit pitches with good comfortable stances and some fun airy moves overlooking Aladdins Couloir.
Now that I know the rock on the crest is fairly sound (much better than Fingers Ridge!) and that the climbing good, I'll just have to work out a less loose and more pleasant approach to our summer start when there's no snow!
As for the crystals see the Talisman Guides Facebook photo album here and short YouTube video here.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Ice, sun, beer and carrot cake!












Another early start and rock hard bomber snow for Giancarlo and Fiona's climb up Jacob's Ladder.
With rock solid axe placements in the snow-ice until after mid-day, Giancarlo, Fi and I savored and enjoyed the airy exposure at the serac-like cornice for our picnic in the sun.
We then ambled back down to meet Andy enjoying a beer in the sun at the ski are carpark after a round of the Northern Corries.
We finished our alpine-like day with coffee, tea and cakes at the superb Mountain Cafe Aviemore, courtesy of 'G' - now that's the type of guiding work, I really like... ;-)


Lots more photos on our Facebook photo album here and the YouTube video is now here.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Crotched, Pygmy, skiers and Cairngorm's 'In Pinn' on Aladdin's!













Clear skies, sun and a hard overnight frost meant superb snow ice for climbing but dangerous icy conditions and serious rocky runouts for off piste skiers venturing onto the steep shaded north facing gully lines.
Fi and I had another early start to make the most of the hard frozen snow to climb Crotched Gully then Lower Central Gully onto the Mirror and up onto a the lovely dry rock on Pygmy Ridge for an early lunch sitting in the sun on the plateau.
We then decided to climb down a surprisingly icy Aladdin's Couloir and then up onto the Aladdin's Seat's pinnacle for a panoramic birds eye views of the climbers and skier in the coire.
By early afternoon several skiers and boarders had decided to descend Aladdin's couloir and were all surprised at how icy it was, even at  15.00 hrs in the afternoon...!


More photos and video on the Talisman Guides Facebook album here.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Good weather, snow ice, dry rock and courting couples of Ptarmigan!











15th April 2014 - Clear skies and an overnight frost brought the snow gully routes such as the Runnel into good icy nick and then once the sun hit the rock the rock, routes such as Fingers Ridge were in nick too. With an early start, light packs, a thirty metre rope and a minimal rack, Fi and I had a great Alpine like day with glacier like approaches climbing on a mix of solid snow ice and dry rock.
The climbing coires were almost deserted apart from our chattering neighbours and ' courting couple's' of Ptarmigan, full of the joys of Spring.
It looks like we've got more of the same to come over the Easter week so look out for high pressure, clear skies and an overnight frost and with a very early start you'll be rewarded with superb snow climbing conditions.


Lots of photos on the Talisman Mountaineering Facebook photo album here and headcam video here.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A good freeze and good climbing...










A colder night with well frozen snow this morning, though less sunny with wintry showers and windier than the weather forecast suggested!
With an early start and finish the climbing on a variation of Opening Break was superb.
The snow was starting to soften on our descent from the plateau, so an early start with a finish before noon is best for the safest and most enjoyable winter climbing conditions.


Lots more photos from today on the Facebook Album here and the YouTube video from today will be here soon!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

No overnight freeze, loose rock but still fun!









Fi joined Scott and I today but unfortunately although there was much less wind there was no overnight freeze and the forecast daytime re-freeze didn't happen!
However, we ended up with a fun approach to Spiral Gully on firm spring snow bypassing several alpine sized crevasses on the way up.
 Spiral Gully is now broken and loose at the first step on the second pitch and also on the penultimate pitch, so although fun, it was not complete and extreme care was needed to avoid the loose unfrozen rock.
Sun, light winds an overnight frost and a good freeze is forecast for tomorrow, should be awesome.. :-)


More photos on the Talisman Mountaineering Facebook Album here and the YouTube video from the climb now at http://youtu.be/jABokx0aoao