Monday, 2 January 2012

Winter has returned and it looks like it means business.

Today was the first day of a 5 day Mountaineering Course I'm running for Abacus Mountain Guides. The plan for today was to cover basic skills with the three guys who between them have some experience of winter but were definitely keen to learn more. We headed up towards Stob Ban looking at Navigation on the way in and keeping our eyes open for the signs of snow being shifted around which there was a lot of. We arrived at the back of the corrie and by now we were taking it in turns to break trail with drifts up to our waist and still heavy snow falling. We spent some time here looking at the snow pack and talking about avalanches, digging some hasty pits and getting to know as much about the snow as we could. There was a lot of snow around which meant we didn't get to cover some of the things we had hoped but there is plenty of time. We carried on up to the summit and then finished off by Scrambling down the North Ridge. A fine mountain day out and although it involved a lot of hard work from the guys they did well in difficult conditions.

Things are starting to fill in nicely again with all of the fresh snow but there is a lot of wind slab around and we came across some very deep and not that well bonded stuff that had been deposited by cross loading. The old snow is starting to firm up nicely and the turf is almost frozen and Rime was starting to build on the rocks above 900m. There should be some good mixed climbing conditions to be had if only it wasn't for the weather and getting to the bottom of the crags that might be the biggest problem over the next few days. I apologise I forgot my camera again. I must remember to take it out of the airing cupboard, I'm sure it's dry by now.

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