Monday, 20 February 2012

Wet pants day!

Topping out on the Goat Track

This week I'm working for Glenmore Lodge on a winter mountaineering course. After yesterdays stunning conditions winter was disappearing fast today with a freezing level of 1800m and high winds. The Coire an t-Sneachda crags went from white to black in around an hour or less time than some folk took to climb them! Plenty of teams out on the Message (IV 6), Left Edge (I/II), Jacobs Ladder (I), Aladdin's Couloir (I) and Fingers Ridge (IV 4) although a number opted to bail. The heavy rain from the west extended further than forecast and we got a good soaking as we looked at ice axe arrest and developed the teams crampon skills around the Flat Ice area. With a good foundation to work on we wound our way up the Goat Track and on to the plateau. A brief parting in the cloud at Point 1141 gave us a glimpse of blue sky but the wind accelerating over the Cas Ridge gave us a real battle on the descent. The remaining wind slab in the lee of the ridge was being picked up and scattered but the majority of the snowpack was sodden and flowing.

Fingers Ridge (IV 4) started in winter & finished in (damp) summer conditions!

The Cairngorm Plateau snow pack!