Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Ben More, 24th Januray 2009

A very wild and windy day today as myself, Stevie and Willy, ventured up Ben More (1174m). After studying the SAIS forecast, we opted for a simple walk rather than attempt any gullies. We started a short distance east of Benmore Farm, on the A85 to Crianlarich. See map. Our ascent took us staright up the north-west shoulder, making sure we kept to the north-east of the hanging corrie on this side of the mountain. As we got higher, we had to struggle to stay on our feet and visibility would change from "just about", to zero in seconds! Spindrift was also another enjoyable part of our climb and it was a relief to find shelter in a hollow, just below the barely visible trig point at the top. As invisible as the trig point was, it didn't help that the inside of my goggles had frozen! At this point I did attempt, after changing gloves, to take some photos but my hands and my camera were too cold! So after some hot tea/soup and very cold sandwiches, we had to map read our way down the ridge connecting Ben More with Stob Binnein, to the bealach at GR 433236. It was only then we got any view at all our surroundings and fleeting glimpses of Ben More summit and nearly the top of Stob Binnein. From the bealach we descended west through, deep snow (almost waist deep in places), into the valley and follow the Benmore Burn back to the farm.

I had to "aqquire" this picture of Ben More summit, but imagine another couple of feet of snow and no view.

This too, would've been the view back down to Ben More Farm!

You can see the enjoyment all over our faces!

And again - why do we do it?

We used the Crianlarich map from the Harvey, Superwalker series - available from Amazon.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Austria - Skiing in Soll and the SkiWelt. January 10th - 17th, 2009

Another week of amazingly good weather in Austria. Also back in Soll again, part of the SkiWelt, so we're getting used to finding our way around. With nearly 300 kilometers of piste and 70 Ski huts, restaurants and apr├Ęs-ski bars (that's one approx. every 3.9 km!), it's a fantastic area and can take a full day to cross from one end to the other.

My new ski gear for 2009! Actually this is "Monti", part if the kids ski instructors set up. The guy wearing it seemed to be having a good time though!

This is Rudi, one of the instructors from the Hochsoll Ski School who is also setting up, "Bike and hike Wilderkaiser" this summer.

From left to right - Huw, Doreen, Rudi, Lorna, Me, Emille and Sandra (taken by Derek!).

Looking at just a small part of the "Wilderkaiser". Maybe one day I'll get up there!

Lorna, Doreen and Huw "racing" towards me just before the batteries died on the camera!

Little people showing the adults how to do it!

Lorna, Doreen and Huw skiing under the Hartkaiserbahn, down to the Rubezhal resteraunt on the run into Ellmau. The Rubezhal is sometimes visited by the rich and famous, so we thought we'd better pop in too! The terrace has a cracking view of the Wilderkaiser, and the whole ski area is part of the SkiWelt.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Aladdin's Couloir, Coire an t-Sneachda, 4th January 2009

Mark and myself were in Coire an t-Sneachda today to do the grade I, Aladdin's Couloir. See map. Today the weather was milder than our previous two visits to Coire an t-Sneachda , however with low cloud we weren't treated to the same views. The forecast said occaisional light snow flurries, which turned out to be non stop! Although never too heavy to affect visibilty (the fog did that), snow was starting to accumulate on the route, but there were some small areas of windslab starting to form. The snow is set to continue overnight which will increase the avalanche risk.

Just above the start of Aladdin's Couloir, looking up to the corner and the small section of ice; about 2 metres which was easily negotiated.

Mark heading up the Couloir towards the area where Aladdin's Mirror joins the route. Looking down a deserted Aladdin's Couloir. We only saw one other party going up, although there were other teams on other routes that we couldn't identify from below. Once we reached the top (no cornice), we headed west to descend the Goat Track, and then back to the Ski Centre.
Coire an t-Sneachda in better weather! Aladdin's Couloir is the dog leg gully rising left of centre.

Snow Bunting enjoying a ham sandwhich near the stretcher box.

Snowman on Loch Morlich.

We used the Cairngorm map from the Harvey, Superwalker series, and the Cicerone guide to winter climbs in the Cairngorms, - both available from Amazon.