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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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.

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