Winter Skills and climbing thrills!

The last few days have been a great mix of winter work, with a few days off thrown in for good measure! The weather has been fairly kind making for some cracking days out in the hill.

Ascending the Cas ridge

Ascending the Cas ridge

I spent the weekend working for Glenmore Lodge on an intro to winter skills. With the forecast looking windy to start but easing drastically through the day to give a fine and settled afternoon we decided to get up high and enjoy the views. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of walking into an area, spending the day in one spot looking at skills then head back out, for me it kinda misses the point! So we spent our first day journeying up onto Cairngorm for some stunning views of the plateau, looking at a variety of skills as and when we needed them.

Just in time for the wind speed readings on the summit of Cairngorm

Just in time for the wind speed readings on the summit of Cairngorm

Sunday felt like a completely different world by comparison. Visibility was fairly limited and the winds were forecast to strengthen throughout the day. Bearing this in mind we decided to stay a little lower and headed into t-sneachda. We spent a little bit of time on the toe of Fiacaill ridge before traversing along the flank, into the corrie, and over to the flat ice to expand on crampon technique. Although we didn’t have the views of the previous day it was great weather for navigation, and really highlighted the importance of navigation skills in the winter environment.

No blue skies on Sunday

No blue skies on Sunday

After two days off I spent Wednesday and Thursday out climbing with Julie. With all northerly aspect still a little suspect we decided to head to Cha no. This is a relative small crag with an easterly aspect, which accessed by abseil, meaning that the approach slopes can be avoided. I have climbed at the crag before but this was the first time I have ever used it whilst working. With a few teams hot on our heels we abseiled into, and climbed the amazing Jenga buttress. This route takes a cunning line through some fairly steep ground to pop you out on the crest of the buttress, an amazing position to be in, and at III, 4 it feels fairly stiff for the grade. Julie took it all in her stride however, and cruised up the route to the blue skies and stunning views across the hills.

Julie styling on Jenga Buttress

Julie styling on Jenga Buttress

With a better avalanche forecast we headed into t-sneachda on Thursday and made our way to the Mess of Pottage. A slightly earlier start paid off masively, and we were the first team onto Hidden Chimney. Another great grade III in the bag for Julie!

Ahead of the crowds on Hidden Chimney

Ahead of the crowds on Hidden Chimney

 

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