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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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Hogmany - Post Holing in the Pentlands.

After two weeks of cold turkey, not the edible kind, I went for a bimble around  Caerketton Crags at a lofty 478m. At the very time I decided to drive up to the  Ski Centre, a minor blizzard started, making the road up inpassable (until they cleared it ten minutes later!). So a steady plod from the Steading Inn car park took me up to the slopes below the crags. Although the pea souper that followed the snow made it impossible to see.
And as with conditions further north, the snow was soft and unconsolidated, with only some small areas of harder snow on any windward slopes.

Not much to look at but it provided a few minutes of loose, snowy scrambling.

Always time for a cuppa and a biscuit though!

Looking across Edinburgh to Aurthurs Seat.

And across to Fife.

Plenty of snow at Hillend Ski Centre with people skiing "off piste" between the gorse bushes!
Unless the weather and snow situation improves over the next few days, if we go out at all it looks like ridges are the safest place to be just now.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve Skiing!

Looks like there's plenty of snow around on the hills and on all of the Scottish ski centres. Plus there could be more to come on the hills over the next few days so it's been a great start to the winter (for those of us who like that kind of stuff). Not only that, but even our very own Hillend Ski Centre has been covered in so much snow that you can only just see the matting!
Today, me and Lenny went up to spend a few hours on Christmas Eve messing about in the snow. Strangely it wasn't too busy but the golf course next door was mobbed with sledgers of all ages and varieties and probably will be over the holiday period. Don't know if we'll get further north, depends on the roads of course and reports of a 3 hour wade into Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms doesn't sound too appealing just now!

Looking up a very snowy, christmasy Hillend.


Lenny just about to get onto the chairlift. Video to follow.
Have a Happy Snowy Christmas :)


Monday, 21 December 2009

Guess where?

With the prospect of snow on the A9 to Aviemore and even greater chance of having to wade into Sneachda, we opted for a shorter day somewhere closer to home? Nothing too challenging or technical but in the unlikely chance of a really cold spell and some freeze thaw cycles, this little gully would be great for messing about in!

This final picture should give it away!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Jacobs Ladder, 13th December, 2009

Myself and Lorna, braved the nightmare of the A9 through the fog and frozen windscreen washers for the delights of a stunning day in Coire an t-Sneachda. It was about -5/6 when we drove into Aviemore but it warmed (haha) up a little as we drove up to the Ski Centre Car Park. There was a bit of a cloud inversion going on which may have helped? Just before the Lochans at the base of the coire, we headed for left for the open ground below Jacobs Ladder.

Looking up at Jacobs Ladder with a couple of bods peering over the cornice at the top.
This was Lorna's first time using crampons so we bimbled around on the snow for a while so she could get used to them. We then headed for Jacobs Ladder intending this to be her first roped Grade I winter climb. However at the foot of the gully, despite my reservations about the cornice, she said she was confident enough to solo it!

As we reached the top of the gully I noticed there was an "interesting" cornice to negotiate. Having opted not to rope up we took a look to see if it would be a problem.

Looking up to the double cornice.

As you can see from the above picture, there was this "rip curl" effect, almost another cornice, below the top cornice and my concern was having to put weight on the lower one to get over the top one! However after some squeezing through a channel on the left and placing an axe over the top of the upper cornice, we both managed to safely get through and over the top.


Once we were at the top we headed back along the top of the climbs, stopping for a quick bite, before dropping down from Windy Col into the coire. From the top of the crags we could see climbers in some of the Fiacaill Buttresses along with folks traversing the ridge itself.

We could also see right over to Cairn Toul at 1291m and Sgor an Lochain Uaine at 1258m.


After crossing under the crags back towards Alladins Couloir, we opted not to climb it as it being Lornas's first day on crampons and traversing being uncomfortable at the best of times, we descended to the coire floor and back to the car park (and cafe for a hot chocolate). However from the photo above the couloir appeared in good nick, although there was a fair bit of snow built up on the left (so much that we couldn't see down it from the top) but from the bottom we  saw a few folks topping out on the right hand side.
Also the whole area was buzzing with teams of folks loads of routes on the Trident Gullies area and a few of the more serious routes.