Winter warm up!

 My winter season got off to a great start last week with a quick trip over to the Cairngorms.

Approaching the summit of Lochain and the Cairngorm plateau

Approaching the summit of Lochain and the Cairngorm plateau

After arriving very early on Sunday morning, a few hours later I was back out with John McCune heading into Lochain for my first taste of Scottish winter this year.

John climbing into Ewen Buttress

John climbing into Ewen Buttress

Although there was a distinct lack of snow, the cold temperatures, clear skies and white buttress made up for it.

There were a few other party’s in the corrie, and we made our way over to Ewen buttress climbing it in two pitches via a direct start. We arrived at the top just in time to watch Murdo and Guy top out on The Gathering, very impressive stuff!

Murdo and Guy on The Gathering

Murdo and Guy on The Gathering

Unfortunately the low temps weren’t to last and by Monday the freezing level was way above the summits. Thankfully I spent most of the day inside at the Glenmore lodge freelance staff induction, only sticking our heads out for a few hours in the afternoon. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces, and meet many more new, and I am really looking forward to doing a little bit of work for them in the next few weeks.

Before starting into two days of work on Wednesday, Paul Swail and myself spent Tuesday wondering about the Cairngorms. We  headed over to Hells Lum to see what conditions were like, as the forecast had given temperatures to drop. When we arrived things were still feeling a little tropical and with plenty of signs of snow and ice dropping of the crag we decided to stay out of the firing line and head back into Scneachda.

Crossing over towards Hells Lum

Crossing over towards Hells Lum

As we made our way down the Goat track towards the Corrie floor we spied a couple of reasonably fat ice steps still remaining in Goat track gully, and although a little short lived they looked like a bit of fun, if nothing else it was nice just to be on a bit of ice again!

Goat track gully

Goat track gully

The last few days off my trip were spent working with UDC mountaineering club on a two day introduction to winter skills.

The most important part of ice axe arrests...always be ready for a pose!

The most important part of ice axe arrests…always be ready for a pose!

After staying low and avoiding the worst of the weather on Wednesday, Thursday saw us heading up the shoulder of Lochain and onto the plateau for a bit more of a journey. Conditions were very Scottish, with lots of snow in the air and visibility coming and going. We spent the day consolidating on the skills from day one and looking at winter navigation.

In the white room!

In the white room!

At the end of two challenge days of wild weather the guys were all still buzzing. It was great to see their enthusiasm for the hills and I look forward to bumping into them out and about next winter!

Loving the winter experience

Loving the winter experience

This week Im back home for a bit of work in the Mournes, some rope access, and moving house, its going to be a busy one!

 

 

 

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