Thursday, 29 January 2009

TORRIDON







We were over in Torridon today, one of the most beautiful and stunning areas in The Highlands. John and I went up Beinn Alligain. The forecast was much better than expected, winds ok and some beautiful afternoon sunshine. Tempertaures were up to plus 8 degrees at sea level, but on the tops the neve and water ice was holding on just fine. More snow and much cooler temps on the way

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

CAIRNGORMS






















John and I headed over to the Cairngorms today and went up the Fiacail ridge onto Cairn Lochan. Excellent weather, blue skies and cold. Plenty of folk out climbing the easier gullies in Sneachda. The wind picked up in the afternoon and wonderful watching the blowing snow over the icy plateau.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

TOO MUCH SNOW?






















Victoria & Simon were out on day two of their winter skills course with me today. There had been more overnight snowfall and we had some snow showers through out the day. The winds had swung to the South and windspeeds were upto 35mph on the tops. It was hard work ploughing through the deep snow from the last few days, even at low altitudes. Today we concentrated on navigation, avalanche assessment and route planning. We had a nice wee snow shelter for lunch before we got into white out conditions near the top of Tarmachan's Meall Garbh summit. It looks like hard work over the next few days getting onto the tops and still high avalanche conditions, on all aspects. More snowfall into next week

Saturday, 24 January 2009

WINTER SKILLS ON CORRANAICH







There are copious amounts of snow in the Highlands right now. The mountains in the Loch Tay area have an excellent covering of snow down to 400m. Victoria & Simon were are their first day of a winter skills course today and we made our way up onto Meall Corranaich. We covered axe arresting, walking on steep ground, crampon skills as well as a variety of other topics. The main theme through out the day though was avalanche assessment, avoidance and safe route choice. Very sad to hear then of the terrible avalanche incident in Glencoe where several folk were killed today. Please, please do know the signs and take note of the avalanche reports posted every day through out the winter season. we run winter skills courses through out the season which includes avalanche assessment and awareness.
For daily avalanche reports visit:

Take care out there.






Thursday, 22 January 2009

QUICKIE ON HELVELLYN







It was a fabulous afternoon up on Helvellyn today. The clouds had lifted and some lovely afternoon sun. Another lazy start for a quick up and down from the Thirlmere side. Some good steep crags to play on for the ascent to the summit. Cornices on Eastern and Northern aspects and with some consolidation it should be good climbing fun in the gullies. Views down to Striding and Swiral edges loking beautiful.



Now back up in the Highlands of Scotland and things looking good for another superb winter, snow and lots of it down to low levels.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

SNOW HOLING AND CLIMBING IN THE LAKES







The winds had eased a tad today and I was out in the beautiful and less frequented Matterdale Valley near Ullswater. Excellent full on winter conditions again, even managed a snow shelter in the big drifts and found some wonderful ice to play on on Angletarn Pikes which are at a lowly 600m, just goes to show that we're in for another cracking winter if you get these conditions in The Lakes. Back up to the Highlands on Friday and Winter skills courses are booking up steadily.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

LAKELAND OR HIGHLAND?


Its excellent winter conditions, even here in the Lake District. With gale force winds today on Grisedale Pike and constant graupal showers through the afternoon I abandon the classic round of the Coledale Horseshoe after the summit of Grisedale Pike and celebrated my Birthday in the delights of Keswick instead!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

HEAVY SNOW




There was a big dump of snow today on the Perthshire hills, we had continuous snowfall much of the day, heavy at times and the mountains were transformed to a beautiful full winter mantle. The snow was down at all levels and the road up to the Ben Lawers Visitor centre was looking a bit dodgy to travel on. Bruce and Anthony were on their second day of a winter skills course, we covered a lot of navigation, avalanche awareness & avoidence aswell as some more ice axe techniques including step cutting. We headed up an unconventional way onto Ben Ghlas, avoiding the 'tourists routes'. Well done to them for coping in the quite severe conditions although the forecast high winds were in fact only 30mph at 900m. Looks like a good deal more snow to come over the coming days, avalanche catagories are up to 4 in most areas, take care out there.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

WINTER SKILLS







Good winter conditions today for Anthony & Bruce who are on a weekend winter skills course for 2 days. We headed over to the Eastern crags of Meall nan Tarmachan from the Lochan nan Larig dam. Great variety of conditions, frozen old snow, windslab and frzen turf. We covered ice axe arresting, avalanche awareness and walking on steeper terrain. We had snow showers later in the day which merged into steady snowfall. It was a bit windy on the tops and forecast is for it to be pretty wild on Sunday with lots more snow to come in the next week, great stuff. I am working for www.walkaboutscotland.com this weekend.

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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

JACOBS LADDER














































We were away over in the Cairngorms today and it was another cold, clear morning. Temperature was at minus 3 degrees at Coire Cas carpark with a moderate wind. George and I and Nick and Bill were climbing on Jacobs Ladder, a wonerful gully in Sneachda. Conditions were superb, hard snow all the way and a steeper exit onto the plateau. We finished with a wonder round the coire rim with the winds picking up slightly and high wind chill.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

EAST FACE TARMACHAN






















It was a beautiful clear skies morning today and only light winds. Fresh overnight snow down to 800m, and a frosty night ment wonderful conditions in the Tarmachan gullies on the eastern side again. John and I wet up the obvious main right-left slanting gully. Of course no one had been there and so virgin snow and neve all the way.

Monday, 12 January 2009

COLDER & SNOWING






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After a very wet,windy and mild weekend it was back to colder conditions on the hill with constant snow showers above 800m. Most ice has dissappeared but with the overnight cold temps the snow od snow was starting to re- freeze. I found a nice ribbon of snow just to the West of Meall nan Tarmachan's normal rout up, at about 900m. The wee scoop was quite well consolidated, again this line is usually here trhough most of the winter although has it's South facing it does tend to be soft later in the season. My usual route up direct from my home in Morenish was rather wet underfoot today with the constant rain that fell yesterday. Forecast looks good for the rest of the week, remaining cold and more snow forecast. I still have some dates free in January for winter skills.





Friday, 9 January 2009

EAST CORRIE,TARMACHAN




























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Another excellent day in the gullies. I was in the eastern corrie of Tarmachan, one of my favourite local winter areas and very accessible. Only half an hour walk up from the Lochan nan Lairig dam, or cycle up to the dam if you feel a purist. The corrie has several easy grade 1 gullies, today I had a liesurley 11am start and went for the most northerly one which leads onto the NE ridge, a great way to the summit of Tarmachan. Wonderful conditions once more at 800m with frozen turf,water ice and neve. There was a lot of snow getting blown around on the tops and down the gullies but I was sheltered from the 40mph Westerlies until gaining the ridge. There is windslab forming on East to North aspects but a big change in the weather from tomorrow with milder and very wet and gales, but cold enough for snow on higher ground.