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, 23 January 2011

Very cold in Austria ! 15th - 22nd February 2011.

Another amazing week in Soll, Austria last week! For the first few days the temperatures were on the plus side making the snow a little slushy in the afternoons but still ski-able. There was some talk of panic as to wether they would get new snow or not, although we would've been fine whilst we were there. However by wednesday the temperatures dropped, averaging about -10 even -15 ish occasionally during the day and with it lots of fresh snow. This improved the conditions greatly and filled in all the green bits too!   

Looking down from the Hohe Salve gondola after the first nights dump of fresh snow. Note the Salvenmoos area below is now covered completely. We only had one pea soup day which with heavy wet snow was hard on the legs. After that it was sunshine and blue skies but very cold.

Lorna comtemplating the next run down to the Silla, heated chairlift; the last lift you take before you drop down into Soll through the trees.

Looking over the Igloo's and Ice Bar at Brixen on our way home from touring over to Scheffau.

The church and resteraunt at the top of the Hohe Salve and the Black run down (although it doesn't look it from this angle!).

Martin and the kids on the new automatic, heated, coverd chairlift at Scheffau.

The ski hire shops upgrade their stock every season so you can be gauranteed to get the best equipment without the hassle of lugging it halfway across Europe. Having your own boots is good though, although I must invest in heated boots on day!  

Lennon and Lorna under the Hartkaiser Bahn at Ellmau on the day of the Hahnenkamm race at Kitzbuhel, just around the valley. Again the sunshie belies the fact that it was very cold!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Austria here we come!

At last the time has almost come to go to Austria skiing after missing out on the recent good conditions we've been having in the Scottish Ski areas. This will be our fifth trip to Soll and as such we should recieve our five year badge for being loyal visitors to the village. Not sure if the local Burgermeister will present them in person though! The Skiwelt are has 279 kilometres of piste, of which 264 is open just now. To be fair they could do with more snow, but there's still plenty to ski on. On our first visit to Soll in 2007, we made a point of visiting the local church with it's immaculately well kept grounds.
It's nice to see at least some small part of the local culture, away from the high tech world of the modern ski infrastructure, even if it'sonly for an hour or two.      

It's also interesting to see how other countries and cultures remember their lost ones from previous conflicts.

As with most things Austrian, they take great pride and respect in their history and traditions. The time and effort they put in to maintaining their places of remembrance is incredible.

Of course it goes without saying that we will be visiting the "Umbrella Bar" on most afternoons! 

Friday, 7 January 2011

Winter belays - some top tips from UKC Forums.

Click on UKC Forums for some entertaining advice on building winter belays and the various confectionary you may have tucked away in your pockets that you can use!
Tunnocks Caramel waifers seem a popular choice along with the faithful Mars Bar...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Ledge Route and No 4 Gully, 2nd January 2011.

Myself, Mark and Stevie had an early start today and drove up to Ben Nevis. We headed up to No 5 Gully in order to do The Ledge Route. Not the most snow we've seen in the coire, but most of the gully lines seemed complete (numbers 2 and 3 in the picture). Even so, there were plenty of teams out enjoying the break in the weather before the forecast change later in the day.

The steep plod up to No 5 Gully is much easier on snow, but on the scree and rock it's a bit of a pain!
The three guys in front were heading across to No 2 Gully (out of shot).

Looking up No 5 Gully from the top of the scree. The overnight freeze made for excellent conditions and there were various ice falls and cascades that teams were using for practicing ice climbing techniques.

Faffing about with knots and stuff before setting off!

The first "ledge" as you turn right out of No 5 Gully was in great nick with some ice and really grippy snow so we didn't bother using any gear although we lugged it along just in case!

Looking back down to Stevie and Mark just exiting No 5 Gully.

Higher up on the route the snow was a little leaner in places, especially around by the "wall" section and the little blocky section just after it. This added to the route as there were various easy rock steps in a choice of lines so add interest - sometimes just walking up a snow trench is too easy!

An eerire deserted Ben Nevis summit.

A quick cuppa in the observatory ruins before heading back across to No 4 Gully just as the mist came in and the temperature dropped.

Stevie and Mark making their way down a very stepped out No 4 Gully.

No 4 Gully looking a little bare in the middle. Bumsliding out of the question!

Remember folks, it gets dark early in the winter so don't forget your headtorch!