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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Monday, 30 January 2012

Where is Curved Ridge!? 29th Janaury 2012.

After a dark-o-clock start, myself, Gordon, Mark and Willy arrived at the Lagangarbh car park at about 0715. We kitted up in the dark and set off in search of Curved Ridge. As we walked in and it became light we started to get a little concerned about actually finding the start in the very low hill fog that was shrouding the Buchaille. Having done Curved Ridge several times in summer, we knew it can be a bit tricky at the best of times to spot it from below (it's easy from the road though!).   

A brief stop in the gloom by the Waterslide Slab. Even here visibility was still poor.  Our first mistake was to go a little too far past the slab before ascending and heading back right to end up above it. However giving the very poor visibility, I'm not sure we would've found the base of the route that easily anyhow. As it was it soon became clear (and so did visibility - briefly) that we were too far left with the possibility of ending up on D Gully Buttress. In the end, discretion became the better part of valour and we traversed and descended back to the Waterslide area of the mountain, still with no clear view of anything above us.
As it was, we had the ropes out and placed the odd runner here and there to keep things safe, plus a belay or two for some tricky "lowers", and eventually made our way back to the car.   

We decided to stop at the Kings House Hotel for a refreshment almost got a clear view of the Buchaille in the company of a Deer Stag in the hotel car park!
As they say, you win some, you lose some and in the end we did the right thing by not blindly continuing up onto to possibly more dangerous ground. 

Deer Stag keeping a close eye on us whilst he poses for the camera!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Images from Soll, January 2012

Bluebird day over the Hohe Salve, in Soll.

Fresh tracks under the Stockl Lift - Ski Welt.

Making fresh tracks in a natural (ish) halfpipe near Soll in Austria.

Amazing amounts of artificial snow to ride over!

Lorna, Lenny and myself enjoying a drink below the Hohe Salve - Hochsoll. 

The wee ones showing no fear.

Lenny winning first prize overall at the ski school!

A very quiet home run down to Soll, before the tea time carnage starts!


Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Runnel, Coire an t-Sneachda, 8th Januray 2012

The forecast suggested east would be best, so myself and Mark took a trip to the northern corries to see what was available. The temperature was about 4-5c at the car park which wasn't good, although there was some ice underfoot on the way in to Coire an t-Sneachda. It was clear that most of the corrie was bare, but some of the gully lines still seemed complete.       

There were still quite a few people about though, with several winter skills parties doing their thing in various slopes around the corrie. We saw and heard teams heading for the Mess of Pottage area, some around Aladdin's Mirror and a few in the Trident gullies. Also some teams below Fiacaill Buttress and some hardy souls on Fiacaill Ridge hoping to beat the forecasted increase in wind later in the day.

Originally the plan was to go for Spiral Gully, but I couldn't see if it was complete and wasn't too sure of the start of the route. I saw a team in Crotched Gully which looked a little bare in the middle where it bears right. It may have been possible to cut across right from there to get into Spiral, but again I wasn't sure if it it was complete. So we decided on Central Gully after gearing up at the stretcher box. We headed up the snow bay to the start of the route when I realised we should've gone left into to bay that leads up to Central Left Hand. So we were in The Runnel now! I didn't tell Mark till higher up but it was all straightforward enough.

Looking back down The Runnel now that we were committed to doing it. Although the wasn't any neve to speak of, the snow was steppy with enough grip to stop it giving way on every step.  

We moved together for practice, placing runners on the way up until we reached the team in front who were belaying a little way below the crux chimney. From here the snow became a mix of just snow, snow-ice or ice which made the route more interesting.   

We chose to belay at the very bottom of the chimney, just to the right, to avoid any falling bits. The chimney was entertaining stuff for our level, with grooves of either ice or snow-ice to climb, and the occasional rock placement for axe or feet. 

Looking down after the first icy, bulge section, where it eases of a little.

Looking up at the final icy step (more to the right) which leads to easier angled ground as the gully opens up onto the plateau. Again this was good fun with views to the climbs left and right as you gain height.   

Fortunately due to the wind scoured summit, it was easy to find a rock belay and sit in comfort as I brought Mark up. However the wind was just starting to pick up, so we had a quick bite to eat before we struggle our way over to 1141 and down to the car park. 

Belayer at the top of Central Left Hand (I think?).