Spiral Goat







Today I met up with my cousin Will and we walked into Sneachda with an open mind. There were teams everywhere and bizarrely three teams on Spiral Gully trying to work round each other with other routes empty. Anyway we wandered up and climbed Goat Track Gully which is normally grade II but had a grade III ice pitch in it today which was nice. We then headed down the Goat Track and seeing Spiral Gully was now free we jumped on that and shot up that quickly before walking out via 1141. All the big gully routes are in good condition with some steep sections adding extra spice. The wind was picking up during the day and is still moving snow around.

Back on foot





Today I walked into Corie an T'Sneachda with Giles who I booked for a day of CPD to look at different ways of approaching and descending from climbs with clients rather than just short roping. We started with some planning over coffee and then looked at various ideas in the corie before a debrief over coffee. I now have some ideas to play with over the next week to so to see what systems I prefer. In the last hour of the day the wind picked up and is moving snow around again but generally the conditions look good for climbing and it was quieter than I expected in there.

Back in Drumochter









Steve and I were back out in Drumochter on skis today with a ascent of Sgairneach Mhor 991m. It was blue skies and calm wind on the way up but near the summit the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in. Our plans for the horseshoe were foiled by the distinct lack of snow on the other side as the winds had scoured it completely. We ended up skiing back the way we had come but this was great with some icy but continuous skiing all the way back to the car with only a few hundred metres of skinning required on the way back.

Carn nan Sac Ski Tour







Today Steve and I headed to Glenshee and ski toured Carn nan Sac 920m just before the Glenshee ski centre. We managed to ski road to road with only 50m near the top that was too rocky so we had to walk to the cairn. This gave us about 3.5km of skiing losing around 500m in height. It was a great day out and the weather played ball for us giving some stunning view across the mountains

Another day, another hill






Today with the weather looking slightly better we headed to Ben Lawers for a ski tour. We again made it up to around 850/900m before the clag set in and visibility was so poor that I had to take my sun glasses off. It was then on with the goggles for a great descent back down to within 500m of the car.  great 4 hours out on the hill snatched from another day with a poor forecast.

"It will be fun" Steve said








Last night I met up with good friend Steve and discussed our options for the day. As it was due to snow and be windy he suggested we ski toured Geal Carn. "It will be fun" he said. So after turning off the A9 and digging our way into the Balsporran Cottages car park, we put our skins on and headed up the land rover track towards the summit. On the way we battled 60 mph wind face to face before deciding enough was enough at around 840m and turning round. Oh yeah, 60 mph winds on your back whilst on skis is so much better (not). So after getting blown down the hill, falling over in unseen pillows of snow, getting soaking wet and tripping over heather, we had to dig out the car. That is moving all the snow we dug out to get the car in and then some more. 

"That was fun" said Steve and I had to agree, it was very good. A very good day on the hill that was testing but enjoyable.

AMI MIC Trainee Workshop Day 2





With both the avalanche forecast and the weather forecast being on the bad side of not very nice, we all headed in Glen Nevis and the Poldubh Crags to look a trope management and teaching leading. Although not on snow, the techniques are the same and it was good to get slick rope work straight in my mind as having not done much this year (as been away diving) things had become a little rusty. It was quite wet and windy in the glen so very relieved we had not gone up high.

Thanks again to Al Halewood for some good tips over the last 2 dayd

AMI MIC Trainee Workshop





Today I was out on the West face of Aonach Mor with James and Derek under the watchful eye of Al Halewood working on our mountaineering. The weather was kind to us today (but I am still feeling the cold) and we had some fun playing on the broken ground as about grade I/II

Stay Low, No Snow





Yesterday the weather was wet and it was very windy so we decided to take a unscheduled day off. Any fool can go out and get cold and wet but it takes a special type of person to spend the day in a cafe and sauna. Even better, I got a dinner invite last night so no van cooking required.

Today with gusts of wind forecast in the 80's James and I decided to stay low and we walked out of Glenmore past the Ryvoan Bothy and up onto Meall a Buchaille (810m). The approach was fine but once on top and during the descent we got blasted by the wind and had a lovely face scrub in the process. Looking across at The Northern Corries a fair amount of snow has gone in the last 2 days. Just checked the summit station and 82 mph gust has been recorded on the top of the ski centre.

Back in Active Cafe for early lunch

Scottish Winter returns



 A large group



 I am trying to smile


After spending yesterday in a number of cafes and watching the rugby due to 100 mph winds up in the hills, today Swifty, James and I went into Sneachda with a very open mind. There is a fair amount of new snow around but we were able to safely pick our way up to the bottom of the Mess of Potage and as Swifty wanted to do The Haston Line (IV 4) we shot up that first and then continued with Hidden Chimney (III). Visibility at the top was nil and it was goggles on for most of the climbing and the walk off.