The beginning of March was seeing good conditions in the Cairngorms, where everywhere else seemed to still be burried aladdins buttress in Coire an T-Sneachda was in fantastic conditions and became the stanage of winter climbing, I have never had such sociable belays in winter. I managed to tick a good number of routes on this buttress leaving a select few for next time.
The First day out with josh, I got to lead all day, which is always nice as this was josh's intro to some harder winter climbing, his first season this year. We got on Damnation VI 6, The Lamp V,6 and Doctors Choice with some nice ice at the bottom. More ice in sneachda than on the Ben at the start of March.
Me leading up the corner pitch of damnation. Brilliant neve ice up the corner and then interesting mixed climbing above.
The next couple of days I was joined by Kevin from Northern Ireland, who was over with Tollymore national outdoor centre for Northern Ireland. He had been doing winter skills and navigation during the week so with a good weather forecast for the weekend he was itching to get out and swing his axes again. So we did The Prodigal Principal V,5, The Third Wish V,7 and Pateys route.
Kevin on the first pitch of The prodigal Principle
Kevin with some people retreating behind him after taking a wrong turn on The Lamp.
Having abseiled into Aladdins couloir and walk down it and watch others ski down it, all week, I decided it was my turn and went skiing on saturday. Blue bird day and 6 inches of fresh powder we had a few runs in the ski area before setting off up Cairngorm to go and check out Aladdins Couloir... which was fantastic, fresh tracks all the way down and all the way out of the Coire. I think that has to be my best day skiing in Scotland so far.
Me rather excited about dropping into aladdins, the last time I did this was after working with the Ski School after heading up it in the Moonlight before work that morning. Both times were pretty special.
Next stop Beinn Bhan with Greg and Andy. Two days introduction to winter climbing for Greg and a building on skills for Andy. We did North Gully on Beinn Bhan, the intention perhaps to head up and over the A Cioche ridge as well but the conditions were thawing rapidly so we gave the teaching priority and practise plenty of skills, looked at lots of different options for belays and got plenty of practise at the art of climbing steep soft snow.
Greg and andy enjoying the waterfall effect on the belay.
Andy getting stuck in digging a bucket seat