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, 11 April 2010

"They think it's all over..." Aladdins Couloir, 11th April 2010

Well after around £400 in petrol and god knows how many miles of driving, this was probably my last winter day out (?). A little dissapointed at not getting to move up to grade III stuff, and missing out on the Aonach Eagach, Curved Ridge and Tower Ridge (although by all accounts it is still in good nick).
On the plus side, I did manage Striding Edge three times with a winter gully thrown in, the Tarmachan Ridge where I could see something and The Legde Route (at last) and the CMD in it's winter coat.
Our Glenmore Lodge trip was only spoilt by too much snow! However I did pick up a few tips and maybe we'll get back next year and hopefully get more out of it?
As for today;   
Glorious sunshine, blue skies and spring snow made for a warm, slushy but enjoyable trip into Sneachda. The coirrie was quiet with only a handful of peaple around. Most of the gullies are still complete although the steeper ones still have fairly large cornices waiting to collapse, or refreeze if we're lucky?
We chose to go up Aladdins Couloir which was still in the shade and although a little soft on places was ok. Two groups of skiers came down as we went up and we spotted more doing the Goat Track and somewhere to our left.
After messing about in Aladdins, we sat in the sun at the top watching folk out enjoying the hills, then headed up to Cairngorm and down through the ski area to end a good shorter day.
It's quite possible with some colder temperatures and allegedly a little more snow, that there could be some climbing (gullies, the buttresses are bare) still to be had for a couple of weeks yet.


View in the centre of Sneachda, with a couple of guys near Aladdins Mirror/Direct?

Taking the right hand side of the couloir to get the view back over into the coirre.

Heading up into the sun at last.

Looking across to The Mess of Pottage area and Cairngorm summit.

Now, which bit goes where?

Straightforward stuff up to the top, with a little bit of a cornice on the left and a nice run out to the bottom of the corrie on the right, should you choose to slip!


Almost at the top and time for a bannana sandwhich :)

Looking over to the Fiaciall Ridge and the Goat Track, top left.

Lorna giving the top of Jacobs Ladder a wide berth. It still has a large and dodgy looking cornice which no one seems to have near, either up or down.

Lone climber abbing down Aladdins.

Lorna taking it easy on top of Cairngorm weather station.

One last view of the plateau before heading down. 

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The highest cream eggs in Britain? Ledge Route and CMD, April 4th 2010

The stars must have been in alignment this weekend as we were treated to a foot of fresh snow and alpine weather in the west of Scotland. Lorna and myself arrived at a very busy North Face car park just before 8.30am and had to park some way down the track as even more cars arrived.
By the time we had walked up to the CIC Hut, the sun was out and most folks were down to one or two layers. The fresh snow made the plod from the hut up to Number 5 Gully to get to grade II Ledge Route quite hard work, and there were already signs of avalanche debris just left of the gully. Plenty of loose snow was also running off the buttresses to the right of No 5 too. The gully itself wasn't too bad although there seemed to be debris higher up past the first ramp at 50m on the right. Once we were established on the route (along with the other dozen or so in front and the ones behind) it was fairly straightforward and the snow conditions didn't cause any problems on the way to the top of Carn Dearg at 1214m.

Looking up into Coire na Ciste with No3 Gully in the centre and No5 Gully on the right.

Teams of climbers heading up to the base of No5 Gully.

Looking back down at the CIC Hut from No5 Gully.

The first ramp off to the right, 50m up No5 Gully - not quite as exposed as it looks especially on good snow!

Tower Ridge from the Ledge Route. A team of climbers can just be seen on the crest of the ridge, just to the right of the Douglas Gap.

Lorna in the "gully" section of the route just after the first ramp.

The way ahead with teams in front having just negotiated the tricky rocks in the centre of the picture.

The "wall" section behind Lorna with an interesting drop on the other side!

France, Switzerland, Austria?

Our fist view of the summit plateau from the top of Carn Dearg and the end of the route.

360' View from Carn Dearg.

Fresh tracks (up or down?) No4 Gully. We considered going down, but as the weather was so good we decided to head for the summit of the Ben first and decide where to go from there.

      No4 again with Carn Mor Deag and the CMD Arete across the corrie.

The highest (Cadbury) Cream Eggs in Britain possibly, although there were a few chocolate bunnies around!

Not sure what that face is meant to be? However with the good weather continueing and the chance of never getting it like this again, we set off South East-ish to head for the Carn Mor Dearg Arete (CMD).

The slope in the foreground of the picture is normally a nightmare of a boulder field to descend but today it was completely covered  with snow and cornices way to the left on the head of Coire Leis.

From here the ridge became quite narrow with a track only the width of two boots to walk along.

Some hardy souls (just right of centre) can be seen making their way up to the summit.

Looking back along the ridge with the North East Buttress on the right.

Our final view of the ridge before descending to the path along the Allt a' Mhuilinn and then back to the North Face car park to complete a long but brilliant day.