Mountain training

Working on this two day training course on behalf of the Chris Walker Trust
Today has been a wet day out west, but glimpses of blue sky are now in attendance as the front moves through and pulls in drier and colder airflow. for the time being.

Visit Fort William

andyCheck out the best local website in the area. The picture taken above was shot this week.

Ice Climbing

Home from the limited but good icefalls in Cogne just now, to a massive selection of ice around Ben Nevis. Conditions are good in the popular places, but approaches to others are tiresome in deep snow. We have a group staying at Calluna at the moment who trenched their way into the east side of Beinn a’Chaorainn, so that is easier, unless the wind has filled the track! A slightly milder spell might consolidate the snowpack a little, but breakable surface crust might be the result, which is even worse. We found some evidence of windslab cracks appearing out of boot tracks just below the CIC Hut, but sensible route choice will lead to loads of good, safe climbing.

Yesterday was a family day out with Victoria and she shot a lot of the photos in the gallery. We climbed the first pitch of the Curtain on the afternoon ‘shift’, avoiding the early rush, before ‘rapping off’. Zero-Point Five-Vanishing-Hadrians-Gemini-The Curtain-Waterfall Gully-Harrisons were all climbed and no doubt others which we could not see. The big ridges were vacant all day.

Glenmore Lodge came over to do some ice climbing coaching as the ice is buried in the Cairngorms. So, you know where to head folks. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ and we have plenty of bed space at Calluna next week after a full weekend. Our superb drying rooms have not been used this week much, due to the dry and cold and superb weather.

The British Mountain Guides are running the winter training section of the award at our place this week and Richard Bentley is doing the same at a lower level in the Winter Mountain Leader section of UK awards.

Thoule – Cogne

thoule P1080935 P1080931 P1080927 Frankenstyle

We had a great day with Bruce Poll on Thoule. We met Frank and ‘Scouse’. overcoming hangovers by all accounts! Two great guys.

Cogne


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Silvana is just one of the superb staff that help to run the Hotel Barme. Quite seriously the best hotel I have found in the Italian Alps. Climbing at Cogne, today we all ascended ‘Parti’ and abseiled off before the hard pitches. A very good day, but much busier tomorrow, with good weather. Working for West Coast Mountain Guides. Still the best guiding company, developed in Fort William in recent times!

Transport Scotland sucks!

Not a single snow plough in sight between Fort William and Inverness. Stuck vehicles and various accidents and road closures. The A82 between Fort William and Inverness is not rocket-science to keep open with a couple of ploughs, as it only rises to around 65 metres above sea level. BEAR Scotland don’t have an excuse that all the ploughs were being used on Rannoch Moor either, which was shut for a good while and is now only open single track I believe. It’s a devolved power as well, so no blaming Westminster this time. BBC News

Apart from that rant there is lots of lovely snow falling on the hills. This afternoon it has turned milder and the soggy snow pack will hopefully, eventually freeze. Skiers will be pleased that’s for sure and cross-country is available from the high roads of Scotland, once they get open again. We came back home on the high road above Loch Ness. Not to be recommended unless you have a good set of winter tyres on a high clearance 4X4 and a love for adventure. Take a shovel, sleeping bag and maybe a stove!

 

B862

The B862

grey corries

Grey Corries today

Continuing winter storms

Continuing winter storms will put more snow down high up and maintain or improve the ice on Ben Nevis. It will not be very pleasant climbing though.
Aonach Mor weather

Plenty of snow

I spent the weekend at Glenmore Lodge celebrating 25 years of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors. Plenty of new snow fell last night and on the way home Loch Laggan was releasing all six pipes. Still plenty of snow on the western hills and colder weather moving down across the country this coming week.

loch laggan

Laggan Dam all six pipes

cairngorm

Cairngorm this morning

 

Wintry storms

Plenty of fresh snow falling on the high tops, keeping the routes looking white. The next few days into the weekend look challenging though! Get the kayaks or a bike out for a bit. Photo taken from a great estate trail on Rannoch Moor. It does not connect completely with Rannoch Station.

rannoch moor

Rannoch Moor

 

Nevis webcam

Check out this Nevis Webcam if you have not seen it before. Climbers staying with us were on Tower Scoop yesterday. They were going to finish up Gardyloo Gully but found evidence of wind slab potential and sensibly descended.

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