Monday, 15 February 2010

Winter Mountaineering on Aonach Mor

This week I'm working on a Winter Mountaineering course for Adventure Peaks alongside Chris Walker & Max Hunter. With rain falling this morning we opted to head up on to Aonach Mor to introduce the basic crampon & ice axe skills. The temperature rapidly dropped with clearing skies and once over by the Nid out of the wind it was a very pleasant day. We made a steep ascent and descent of the Nid with time spent looking at ice axe arrest and emergency shelters. The legs were a bit sore after a 'good' road bike crash at the weekend but it's shaping up to be an excellent week with a very sociable group.

A number of snow showers swept through today on fresh westerlies which has laid plenty of snow on the lee slopes. We found a number of localised patches of soft windslab which had formed during the day and the cornices over the east face were increasing in size. There are plenty of distinct layers in the snow pack, over an icy layer, which slid very easily. The temperature dropped a couple of degrees during the day and the snow level was down to around 400m.