Tag Archives: Scotland Winter Mountaineering

Scotland Winter Trip Day 5 & Wrap-up

rachel and sam on stob ban

Rachel and Sam enjoying the North Ridge of Stob Bàn

 

Our annual Scotland Winter Community Event is now over for 2014, but we had a satisfying day out on the west coast in the Mamores. This was the fifth and last day of the trip, the aims of which have been to build relationships and have adventurous experiences, and we feel we have certainly met those objectives.

 

As the week progressed, and tiredness set in, we wanted a shorter day with some variety away from the Northern Corries. We felt that the North Ridge of Stob Bàn would fit the bill and offset the longer drive with a shorter day. This was the plan, at least, but the weather forecast did not live up to expectations and an accident on the A86 meant that it was the longest day of the week!

 

We steadily ascended the North Ridge, which was deeply covered in unconsolidated snow, although our progress was good. The difficulties increased towards the top of the ridge, at which point there were some mild expletives from one of the group – apparently Nick had not quite been transparent in his description of the day, which had swayed the particular member for one last blast! Nevertheless, the group enjoyed the exposure, which was short-lived.

 

Overall, it has been an excellent week. All have enjoyed the comforts and surroundings of a lovely, modern Scottish lodge, which have facilitated a great atmosphere. There have been many opportunities to catch up with old friends and get to know new acquaintances. And, of course, the hills have never disappointed, although the forecast has kept us on our toes and emphasised the need to be flexible.

 

We have pencilled in next year’s dates for Sunday 15 to Saturday 21 February, so if you have enjoyed reading about our exploits and the photos, do get in touch to be part of the community.

 

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Enjoying the views on Stob Bàn

 

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Marc, Sam and Rachel enjoying the scrambling on Stob Bàn

 

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James keeps a beady eye on the group

 

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The team in our lovely lodge for the week

Categories: Blog, Community, Mountaineering, Scotland, Simon, Winter
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Scotland Winter Trip Day 4

getting-stuck-in-on-invernookie

Chris and Maggie on Invernookie III,4, Coire an t-Sneachda

 

Today we had a nice mixture of activities happening on the fourth day of our Scotland Winter Community Event, the aims of which are to build relationships and have adventurous experiences. One team was mountaineering in the western part of the Northern Cairngorms and the second mixed climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda.

 

Nick and Simon led the first group on an ascent of Sgòr Gaoith, a fine Munro, the name of which translates as ‘peak of the winds’. The initial part of the climb was a wonderful walk through pine woods, and alongside Allt Ruadh, before breaking onto open hillside to gain the shoulder of Sgòr Gaoith (roughly pronounced ‘skoor gui’). By this point the visibility had closed in, so there were no views, and the team quickly regrouped before descending via Meall Buidhe. Despite the lack of any panoramas, it was an excellent day and very sociable with all in good spirits.

 

Meanwhile, in the Northern Corries, Chris and Maggie were out with James, who is working towards his MIC, and agreed to climb with them on an informal basis. After their abortive effort at Invernookie III, 4 the other day, Chris and Maggie joined forces with James, who led them smoothly and confidently through this well-known and -travelled Grade III in Coire an t-Sneachda. As has been widely reported, the crag is buried under good névé, but with few (obvious) placements for gear.

 

Tomorrow looks to hold the best forecast of the week, so everyone is hoping to travel a little further to Creag Meagaidh for more of a remote experience, which rewards a visit on every occasion.

 

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Sam hits his stride

 

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The team in the lovely Scots pine forest

4

 

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Good views today at lower elevations to the Monadhliath

 

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Sam and Rachel enjoying some quality time

 

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Discussing the finer points of a topic of conversation

 

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The whiteroom – again!

 

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Nick, contemplating a banana

 

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Chris and Maggie enjoying the lower portion of Invernookie III,4

 

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The ever familiar walk-in to Coire an t-Sneachda

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Scotland Winter Trip Day 3

 

marc and sam enjoying a whiteout on the cairngorm plateau

Whiteout conditions are fun

 

Today we had two teams out in the Northern Cairngorms on the third day of our Scotland winter Community Event, the aims of which are to build relationships and have adventurous experiences.

 

The first team, led by Nick and James, led a large party from Glenmore Lodge out through the Pass of Ryvoan and onto Bynack More. This gave the group a wonderful stroll through Scot’s pine forests as a warm-up before the long pull up to the summit. The weather and views were magnificent all day, with the worse of the weather lingering over the higher peaks to the West. A lucky break!

 

The second team took on a day of navigation on the plateau with Simon under the shadow of a challenging forecast, culminating with the mighty Ben Macdui. Initially, the westerly winds were very challenging on the Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais, but once on the plateau, there were brief breaks of sun and views, which was a great bonus. Sam and Marc did very well with their first taste of full-on navigation in whiteout conditions.

 

Tomorrow, the forecast is again challenging, but the aim is to keep some energy back for Friday, which promises to be a great day – cold, calm and sunny.

 

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Suitably suited and booted for a day on the plateau

 

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Somewhere on the way to Ben Macdui

 

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A finer end to the day

 

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Good snow cover on the Cairngorm plateau

 

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Looking forward to a good day out on Bynack More

 

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Bynack More looms with an impressive summit plume

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Scotland Winter Trip Day 2

Sheltering from the elements in Ciste Mhearad

Two ways of sheltering in Ciste Mhearad

 

Today we were out on Cairn Gorm again – the second day of our Scotland winter Community Event, the aims of which are to build relationships and have adventurous experiences.

 

We wanted to stay together as a group today, take in some steeper ground and get into a more remote part of the Cairngorms. The original objectives were to head to The Saddle via Ciste Mhearad, journey along Loch Avon, find some steeper ground into Coire Raibert and then come back over via 1141m (the handy spot height and cairn above Coire Cas).

 

Unfortunately we did not quite fulfill the original aims: the wilder weather forecast for the afternoon seemed to hit earlier, making for more challenging walking conditions. This meant that the team became drained physically, so after running through emergency shelters in Ciste Mhearad, we called it a day and headed out.

 

Last night two more members joined us, Chris and Maggie, who are keen on some winter climbing. As such, James, who is working towards his Mountaineering Instructor Certificate (MIC), is hoping to take in some climbs with them on an informal basis. Should make for a great mixture of activites over the week!

 

Gregoire is horrified at the weather

Horrified at the very un-French weather

 

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Slow and steady progress into the wind on Sron an t-Aonach

 

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Raymond steels himself for the next push to the Ptarmigan

 

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Goggles and smiles today from the team

 

Gregoire-and-James-enjoying-the-conditions

A cosmopolitan team: French and American

 

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The Ptarmgian Restaurant looms in the distance

 

discussing-navigation-in-the-shelter-of-the-Ptarmigan-Restaurant

Reviewing the navigation leg – Ptarmigan Restaurant comes in useful

 

digging-emergency-shelters-in-Ciste-Mhearad

Marc demonstrating his emergency shelter

 

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Scotland Winter Trip Day 1

Marc enjoying the slopes of Coire an t-Sneachda

Marc enjoying the slopes of Coire an t-Sneachda

 

We have just kicked off our first TMP Community Event, a Scotland Winter Mountaineering trip, based out of Aviemore.

The aim of the trip is to build relationships within our community by providing a focal point for new and existing friends to come and share a quality week with us in one of our favourite environments. Secondly, we aim to have an appropriately adventurous time, providing challenging and exhilarating experiences, but without getting into epics!

 

Today we headed into the Northern Corries to dust off the ice axes and crampons, as well as blow away the cobwebs with an easy introductory day in Coire an t-Sneachda,

 

Our winter skills team were lead by James and Nick, who put on an intensive session with Marc and Euan, running through all the essentials. These included movement with crampons, utilising the ice axe as a tool and simple, but fundamental tips, such as chopping a platform for putting on crampons or taking a breather on steep ground. The team then went on a short journey up to Windy Col (the lower area between the top of the Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais and Stob Coire an t-Sneachda) and finally to the summit of Cairn Gorm, before heading back through the ski area.

 

Topping out on the Fiacaill Ridge, Coire an t-Sneachda


The mountaineering team having completed the Fiacaill Ridge, Coire an t-Sneachda

 

In the meantime, the mountaineering team, led by me, had more of a stretching day. We walked part way into the coire, and then cut uponto the Fiacaill ridge. This is the broad ridge that bounds the coire on the right hand side. As it gains height, it steepens and throws up a narrow edge. The ridge direct is Grade II, but mainly a short mixed section of 10 meters or so, which was outside our parameters. However, Grade I ground can easily be sought to the right, which we did, and enjoyed the steep snow, which has now consolidated nicely.

 

Snow in the Cairn Gorm ski area

Sun and plenty of snow in the Cairn Gorm ski area

 

Overall, conditions were good and enjoyable for a first day. Winds were light, the snowpack was consolidating rapidly because of recent rain, plus there was plenty of snow to allow easy travel. The sun even came out at the end of the day, allowing for a brief coffee in the sun at the ski centre café!

 

Now to chill out in our amazing mountain lodge: sausage casserole, red wine, ice cream and a wood fire to boot!

 

Relaxing in our mountain lodge in Aviemore

Our digs for the week – comfy!

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