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, 21 February 2009

Birthday in Coire an t-Sneachda

Today I spent my birthday in Coire an t-Sneachda with Mark, Willy and the crowds of other folk out enjoying the bright, but very windy weather before the forecast (?) storms were due to arrive later in the day.
Following the crowds into Sneachda. It looks pretty miserable but in fact was quite bright, even sunny alot of the time. Most of the gully lines seem to be still complete so hopefully they'll last a little longer?
The Cicerone Guide to winter climbing routes in the Cairgorms, page 29.

Heading up into Aladdin's Couloir. Although we soloed it, there was a nice ice section on the left just before the dog leg where one team was practicing with ice screws.

Looking back down the couloir to Aladdin's Pinnacle with Cairngorm in the far distance. Aladdin's Mirror, our second route, comes up to the right of the pinnacle (left in the photo) and then joins the couloir. On the plateau, we headed west and then back down into the corrie to start Aladdin's Mirror.

Looking west across the corrie to Aladdin's Mirror on the left of the picture. It was from here that earlier in the day we saw our first falling rucsac of the day, coming from somewhere in the centre of the photo!

At the left turn in Aladdin's Mirror, Mark saw what he thought was a "do-able" gully (ahem). So we headed up high above the Mirror into the narrowing chimney which turned out to be more difficult than it appeared, even with the rope. Luckily I found a handy piton to use and we "retreated" back to a snow bay above the dog leg and traversed across to the Mirror, just below Aladdin's Pinnacle.

Willy belaying Mark across the snow bay, across to the Mirror (where the other climber is). It was from just where Mark is where we saw our second falling rucsac heading down the Mirror, apparently belonging to a skier on their way down the couloir!

Back in the couloir, taking the steeper exit to the left. Then right (west) and back into Sneachda for a soggy walk back to the car!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

At last! A view of Ben More and Stob Binnein!

Ater some deliberation over the road (dodgy), snow (deep) and avalanche (Cat 4) conditions in the Northern Cairngorms (Coire an t'Sneachda), Myself, Gordon, Mark and Willy, decided to head for either Ben Lawers or the Tarmachan Ridge as alternatives. When we could only get 50 meters up the Lawers road, we headed for Ben More instead! At 1174m, Ben More became the first, no doubt of many training "slogs" for Mont Blanc!
As there had been Northerly winds for the previous 2/3 days, we had good neve for most of the way up - even icy in some places.
Mark having the first of his crampon malfunctions shortly after dropping his axe which fortuneatly only went for a short slide!
Prior to this, Willy had thrown himself down the mountain whilst trying to create a large snow-ice ball to launch at Mark, resulting in an entertaining display of a self arrest!
Don't know if this is me or Willy near the top? Could be me surounded by my "aura".
Once at the top of Ben More, we were back in the sunshine with great views over to Stob Binnein and beyond.
What a difference from two weeks ago when we sheltered in this hollow out of the wind and spindrift. Now we had a perfect lunch spot amongst the rimed up boulders around the trig point.
Looking down from the summit over Loch Tay with Ben Lawers just to it's left. Spot the "face" on the rimed trig point.
Heading down to the bealach before climbing Stob Binnein.

Mark having more crampon issues! It turns out that his feet are the wrong shape-or something?

Attempting to take the faster way down, although it can get sore on your backside after a while.

Gordon approaching the 1165m summit of Stob Binnein.

Me having a rest whilst Willy "carved something" in the ice before we headed back down to the bealach and the car.

We told Gordon there was a weight limit!