Tuesday, 19 March 2013

An introduction to Scottish winter.

I've spent the last five days with Jackie and Jane on an introductory winter course for Maximum Adventure. We spent the first three days in the Cairngorms covering the basics of winter skills and looking at winter navigation. We also had a quick hit up Fiacaill ridge on a very wintry day with lots of fresh snow and strong winds.

Fiacaill ridge

Yesterdays forecast wasn't exactly promising but initially looked better than today's so we decided to make that the day we would try and get the girls to the top of the Ben. It was always going to be a 'lets just see how it goes' kind of day, and the winds above the CIC were pretty strong and it didn't bode well for the upper section of Ledge route. We carried on, bit by bit, with me always thinking that maybe we would be turning round after the next section, but it was actually very manageable and on the summit plateau the wind wasn't even an issue. We navigated over to the summit and quickly descended next to the Red burn. A great effort from the ladies on a pretty wild day.

High on Ledge route.

After yesterdays effort, today was always planned to be an easier day. We decided to remove as much of the hard work as possible and headed into the Glen to cover some of the climbing elements that Jackie and Jane had wanted to cover. It was still chilly and with the odd snow flurry coming through but we climbed the Gutter in four pitches and placed some gear and then headed home.

The Ben at the end of Yesterday.

Today was my last day of winter work, at the moment, but winter is still well and truly with us in the Highlands and actually with some fantastic conditions. There is still plenty to go at I'm looking forward to getting out and playing in it myself. April is still a couple of weeks away but if you still want some winter climbing and it's still here please get in touch. 

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