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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

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A real fun adventure climbing above and below the ice!

A bright alpine start with surprisingly well frozen snow and much less wind than expected. 
Scott and I had a superb day winter climbing on Hidden Chimney Direct and then a real fun adventure exploring underneath the Coire an t-Sneachda glacier crevasses on our descent from the plateau. 
Lot more photos on our Talisman Mountaineering Facebook album here and Scott's YouTube headcam videos and my edited video are now all on on this Blog link here.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Sunny afternoon with good skiing...


It turned out a pleasant sunny spring-like day with the cloud lifting to summit level this afternoon.
The skiing on the upper and mid mountain was excellent on firm spring snow and although the lower runs are now thin and patchy with care it's still just about possible to ski back to the Coire Cas carpark.
The easy main gully lines in the climbing coires are still complete though the snow is disappearing fast!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Milder but still firm!

A bit breezy and hazy so I hiked into Coire an t-Sneachda with my skis on my pack and then climbed up to the summit via Windy Col for an evening slide back to the car on empty pistes. Unless you start from the ski area or go via Lurchers (still a walk), it's easier carrying skis on the dry paths rather than skinning between the snow patches below 800 metres.
The milder temps have taken there toll on Cairngorm Mountain's lower runs though it's still possible to ski back to the carpark. From mid mountain upwards there's still tons of the white stuff with the middle section of the Coire Cas Gunbarrel being almost flat!
Having said that the summit of Cairngorm is surprisingly devoid of snow although there's plenty on the plateau, in the coires and in the gullies.
Today it was all still very firm with only the surface softening later in the day, above 900 metres and firming up again as I headed back!
Very little change in the gully climbs from my last visit a few days ago and one or two folk were making the most of the almost deserted coires.
I had fun playing with my head-cam as a pole-cam as I ski down the Cas headwall on lovely spring snow - see below!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Twenty percent chance of cloud free Munros my *rse...!

Given the poor weather forecast I didn't think it was worth making the twenty minute drive for some ice climbing - the forecast was wrong!
 However looking up the hill at lunch time the Cairngorms were far from covered in the thick cloud suggested by the weather forecast but bathed in golden sunshine and the winds appeared a lot lighter!
A quick repack saw me rushing up into Coire an t-Sneachda for a bit of winter exercise and as the evening crags came back into shade the fresh snow was surprisingly well frozen and well bonded to the old hard neve.
Good fun was had exploring various little gullies grooves and ledges and checking out the old favourites such as the Mirror Direct which is still well banked up before traversing across from Pygmy Ridge to Fluted Buttress vai the Trident Gullies area.
I then headed over and up Red and Goat track gullies and had a fun bouldering session on the little icey grooves to the far right on my descents.
The start of Red and Goat Track are really fun with a bit of a berschrund to get started with Goat track if taken direct really good value.
The old snow ice was superb with yesterdays fresh slab only really noticeable on the easy angled sections and now pretty stable.