A ridge of high pressure arrived late on Wednesday and with clear skies and a hard overnight frost being forecast (minus 5). The prospects were looking good for some late Winter (Summer!) ice climbing, in the Cairngorms on Thursday morning.
One problem though, the weather forecasts were all slightly different with the BBC and Met Office showing the weather deteriorating markedly by early morning, whilst the MWIS had the weather showing as good until the afternoon.
I decided to pack and set the alarm early for 5.00am and would look out the window to see if the sky was starry and blue and if the trees were still - if not perfect I'd go back to sleep!
The alarm went off and it looked good, with a golden sunrise, clear sky and still trees. A quick breakfast and a long half hour drive to Cairngorm had me climbing by 8.00 am. The weather, snow and ice conditions were really good until 9.30am although by 10.00am it was cloudier and the wind had picked up, with a few snow flurries.
By 11.00am it was getting quite blustery on the plateau with heavier snow and graupel and some snow sloughs. It was still fairly calm climbing in the coire but by then with over dozen winter routes, several variations and link ups, I was content (knackered!) and happily headed home.
Aladdin's to the Goat Track - showing some of the routes climbed today which included several variations of the Mirror Direct and an unlisted ice fall and chimney (III) between Aladdin's upper Rib and Pygmy Ridge, Red Gully, several variations of Goat Track Gully and several short ice pitches even further right and the descents routes via Aladdin's Couloir and Central Gully Left.
Mess of Pottage - Jacob's Ladder and the upper Jacob's Edge together with Hidden Chimney Direct and the Slant as descent were just just some of the routes climbed this fine (Irish!) Summer morning...
|Aladdin's Mirror Direct (IV,4)|
I first climbed a banked and well iced Hidden Chimney Direct and then descended the lower Slant to head up Jacob's Ladder for the missing sling - which was gone! However having made the effort, I realised I had just enough energy to do another route, so continued up to the Jacob's Ladder cornice, which thankfully was well frozen and straightforward.
By now being well and truly knackered the plan was to head down at 'Windy Col' but realising the cornices and snow conditions were still good, I could still bag another two routes! I descended 'The Slant' then up Jacob's Edge for the FINAL route this time!
An early start and finish by noon gave me nine guidebook listed and four unlisted winter climbs - not bad for the start of Summer (Irish)...:-)
|Hidden Chimney Direct (IV,5)!|
It's been raining and snowing heavily since I arrived back so conditions will have changed with fresh snow for the skiers. With more snow being forecast they'll be fresh cornices and a higher avalanche risk on many routes this weekend so check the latest Cairngorm SAIS report here!
There are more photos from the 2nd May 2013 on my Facebook album here.