Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A day saved

I'd arranged to do point 5 with Alan Kimber, and with snow and wind due to arrive around noon, we met at the car park at 0500. Unfortunately, the weather arrived early, so we called it off, not wanting to deal with either a) spindrift funnelling down the gully, or b) possible avalanches. So I was back home by 7am! With a spare day, i went to explore a waterfall that is marked on the map up the glen at Garve Bridge. It's not in the guidebook, and was well frozen, but is unfortunately only about 8ft high!

I consoled myself with exploring Guisachan Falls (III) 30m, which is best approached from downstream by the right bank. Again, it was well frozen and gave a good solo.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Alpine weather on the Ben

What can you say, other than 'stunning'! This weekend we were with Adventure Peaks for a familiarisation weekend. The group was going round the CMD arete to the summit of the Ben, and in view of the snow on the forest tracks, we scrapped plans for Tower ridge in order to help with the transport. 13 of us piled in to my defender and another chap's disco 4 to get to the top car park!

There wasn't a breath of wind, and the sun shone for all but about 10 minutes. We started in daylight and finished in day light - most un-scottish! Teams out on NE Buttress, Tower and Ledge Route reported ok conditions. No body on any gullies - very sensible given the amount of unconsolidated powder.

Monday, 1 February 2010

fooled by the forecast

On Friday I met my brother, Nige, halfway in Glencoe. The forecast was poor, high winds, low cloud, very cold, snow showers. A short conference in the car park in a hoolie concluded that we didn't want to be hanging around on belay ledges, and that a mountaineering day in the Lost Valley was in order. After 3 hours of trudging up the glen under steadily improving skies, we realised we'd made the wrong choice, and that we didn't have the hardwear with us to take advantage of the excellent conditions.

We went up Right Hand Gully (I/II) and encountered some patches of windslab and one very tiring patch of seemingly bottomless soft snow, moved together, and finished up the right hand side of the headwall, possibly on the line of Granny's Groove (III). It must have been very banked out as we saw no sign of the 'good belays', or the 'cul de sac' in the gully, or the 'scoop' or 'overhang' on the right!

There was no cornice on the bealach, and it was a pleasurable descent back to the clachaig for coke and chips. Far better than being in the office!