Saturday, 28 March 2009

BRITISH SUMMER TIME BEGINS? - I DON'T THINK SO






















It was a fantastic day today in the Highlands of Scotland. Ian and I went up Beinn Achallader's wonderful NE ridg. It was acold day but the strong N winds eased through the day, we had plenty of sunshine and the views were excellent with superb visability. The snow today was superb and is consolidating with neve in places. A very fine end to the winter season.

Friday, 27 March 2009

SNOWING, WIND, CLOUD - SAME AGAIN







Ian and I had a liesurley start up Stuchd an Lochan today, we set off at 2pm and up the cracking wee North ridge looking for ice but found none as the freezing level was only hovering around 900m today. We timed it perfectley again and got a snow shower and cloud the last 20 mins to the summit. Thre is plenty snow on Eastern corries and slopes. Looks good for tomorrow with much lower freezing levels.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES-PART 2







It was a very wild and snowy day today. We had constant heavy snow showers, brought on Westerly gales coating the mountains in snow down to 600m. Paddy and I headed into the Eastern corrie of Tarmachan today for some navigation and avalanche assessment/awareness. Windslab was forming rapidly in the gullies on Eastern aspects as visability decreased quickly in the showers. Great conditions for navigation today. The Purple Saxifrage is now out in full bloom, beautiful, hardy wee flowers seen all over the Lawers range from March-April. More now forecast in the coming days, take care out there.The avalanche Info Service continues into Apil. http://www.sais.gov.uk/ . This time last week it was a heatwave, the wonders of a Scottish winter.

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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

THE RETURN OF THE SUN







It was a very pleasent morning today, the forecast was not quite accurate again. The sun shone through out the morning and it was colder with freezing levels about 900m. Paddy was out with me today on a winter ML refresher course. We covered sercurity on steep ground using rock and snow belays as we made our way up onto Meall Corranaich from the Coire Odhar bealach. There was cloud and light drizzle in the afternoon and the freezing level went above the summits. Still plenty of good snow cover in Northern and Eastern corries and significant snowfall forecast at the end of the week.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

THIN WHITE LINE






















It was another very wintery day with snow falling much of the time. Toward the afternoon the temps rose and the snow turned to rain. Ian and I went up a lovely gully route on Creise in Glencoe, the snow was wonderful, neve in places. Another wee gem of a place with several grade 1 lines and quiet. Our route followed a watercourse and on through some lovely crags. The wind picked up in the afternoon as we made our way around to Meall a' Bhuirdh and down through the deserted Glen Coe ski area.




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Monday, 23 March 2009

CENTRAL GULLY, BEN LUI





























Winter was most definately back today, with much colder temps and snow showers through out the day. Ian & I took advantage of the cold conditions and climbed the classic route on Ben Lui, Central Gully. This is one of the best Grade 1 routes in Scotland and rightly so. We had the wnole route and mountain to our selves as the weather forecast looked much worse than it was. The snow conditions were great, we found excellent ice after the cool down from last night. With only about a 40mph NW we were sheltered most of the way up. Well done to Ian, this is first winter route, I'm sure he'll be onto more soon!


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Sunday, 22 March 2009

CREAG LOIGSTE,BEN LAWERS






















It was mainly dry and the tops were clear of cloud most of the day here in the Perthshire hills. Magda & Jakob were today practicing some basic belay skills in preparation for their summer Alps trip. We went up the really nice gully in the Creag Loigste area of Ben Lawers. The gully is still complete and a nice snowy route to get onto Lawers, there was some recent rockfall near the big crag on the North side of the gully. We constructed some snow bollards to descend the Eastern side of Lawers which is holding snow very well. Winds picked up in the afternoon and it felt a wee bit cooler today in the NW winds, there was some hard snow and icy patches above 1100m.




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Saturday, 21 March 2009

SUNSHINE & SNOWY GULLYS










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Magda & Jacub from Poland were out with me today on the start of their 2 day winter skills course. We went up into the Eastern corrie of Tarmachan and had some great fun going up and down all the gullies in this super wee area. Still over one metre depth of snow lingering in these wonderful grade 1 gullies. The snow was quite soft as the sun this time of year hits the Eastern side of the hill. Freezing levels are forecast to lower steadily through the next few days, with snow showers, winter is definately NOT over yet!







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Thursday, 19 March 2009

HOT HEAD







Another scorcher today, so hot got my head burned! It was a day for ridge scrambling on the beautiful Sharp Edge of Blencathra. This is one of the classic ridges of The Lakes and only a half day jaunt. Again we had a few afternoon drinks back at Threlkeld, Alpine stuff! Back home here in The Highlands the heatwave hasn't removed everything snow wise. The gullies and corries on Eastern and Northern aspects are holding on high up.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

HEATWAVE IN LAKELAND







It was a pretty warm day here in the Lake District today. It was T shirt weather virtually all day. Had a great wee traverse of Scafell Pike and Scafell starting from Seathwaite and good wee scramble up Great End which escaped the crowds, only until the summit of Scafell Pike but even here wasn't that busy. Then 'escaped' the crowds again by descending to Mickledore and back up to Scafell summit via Foxes Tarn ( one of the smallest tarns in the Lakes and today only a puddle!). Easy descent to Wasdale Head and finish with an obligatory pint in the Wasdale Inn sitting outside in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

SHEFFIELD PIKE




Down in the Lake District for a few days. Today Kim and I were up on Sheffield Pike above Ullswater. Great views for a 'wee' hill. Warm day.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES!







Ian and I were on Beinn an Dothaidh's North Buttress today. We made the most of the snow which had diminished since last week when I was last there . We still had a great time playing about which included some 'dry tooling'! Good fun descending in the corrie further to the North of the mountain as we glissaded down quickly to the corrie floor. The freezing level was well above the tops and cloud was well down most of the day but we did manage to dodge the rain later in the day. There are big unstable cornices on all the gullies and we saw lots of avalanche debris in these. Fingers crossed for some colder conditions!



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Saturday, 14 March 2009

WILD & WINDY











It was a pretty wild time on the tops today with windspeeds of 60mph. Leanne coped very well with the testing conditions as we headed up to Meall nan Tarmachan from the North side of the hill. This is a really nice way onto the tops and good for navigation, steep ground and as today it was relitively sheltered. We covered more micro navigation, route choice and moveing on steep ground as well as coping with the winds. We decended down through the Cam Creag area and back to my house at Morenish for a well earned cuppa and cake.