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, 30 March 2014

Scottish Winter Conditions - Spiral Gully, Coire an t-Sneachda, 30th March 2014.

Ive' been wanting to climb Spiral Gully for a while now, and today was the first opportunity this winter where it seemed possible. Ian and myself were the first people in the corrie, and it was only as we checked out the route, shown in yellow, that we saw a couple more teams arriving. The two guys we spoke to at the stretcher box were going for Fluted Buttress Direct, and it turned out we would see them on and off as we both climbed our respective routes.   

Still some large cornices hanging over the Trident gullies.

The Mess of Pottage looking a little clearer now, but Jacob's still has a serac style cornice above it!

We saw a couple of teams heading over towards Fiacaill Buttress.

First pitch of Sprial Gully up the right hand groove of the twin grooves. 

Higher up in the right slanting gully, of Spiral Gully. Much better here here than on the strangely steep, broken ground below it.  

A small section before the col, was starting to get bare with a few rocks showing.

The col itself was more of an arete leading left to the summit.

Lots of snow waiting to go somewhere!

Skiers at Aladdins seat, on their way down the couloir.

Ski tourers on their way over the top of the Mess of Pottage.

Another video of our day!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Scottish Winter Conditions - Fiacaill Couloir, Coire an t-Sneachda, 23rd March 2014.

Yet another wild and windy walk in to Coire an t-Sneachda today, with Ian, Jon and Willy. The loose plan was to see what was doable in the current conditions, and we loitered around the big boulders in the middle of the coire, along with everybody else trying to work what was doable! In the end we opted to head for Twin Ribs, but it was still very open to the wind, so I reckoned if we got got close in to Fiacaill Buttress we might get some shelter. However as we headed left into the bottom of Fiacaill Couloir, it looked like the couloir itself would be the place to go.

There was already one team in the couloir, and another just about to set off, plus another team belaying their leader off to the right, somewhere up the buttress. So we had a bit of a wait until our first team of Ian and Willy could get going. Eventually we all got on the move and I lead Jon up his first grade 2/3 route.

Looking down from the ledge of our second belay, just above a nice section of snow ice.

Jon, enjoying himself (I think?), coming up to the second belay.

Climbers on the Fiacaill Buttress to our right.

Looking up the last pitch to where the chockstone (now well buried)would be.

Jon about to top out of Fiacaill Couloir. From here, we made our way along easy ledges and steps, up and around to the top of the Fiacaill Ridge.

Looking across the coire fromn the top of Fiacaill Ridge.

Coire an Lochain to the right of the ridge

Looking across the top of Aladdins Couloir with Cairngorm summit beyond.

Looking back at Fiacaill Butrress and Ridge from above the Mess of Pottage area.

HD Video of Fiacaill Couloir.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Scottish winter conditions - Twin Ribs, Fiacaill Buttress, Coire an t-Sneachda - 2nd March 2014

Ian, Willy and myself followed what seemed like loads of people into Coire an t-Sneachda, battling against the wind and spindrift as we headed towards the Twin Ribs. It wasn't until we got almost below the Fiacaill Buttress that we got some shelter form the cold southerly wind, whipping up the snow around the coire. 

Teams below Aladdins Buttress. No one seemed to be on the Mess of Pottage, Jacobs Ladder and Trident Gullies...for obvious reasons! We saw a couple of Teams head up to Faicaill Couloir, which looked okay, but not wanting to wait around, we stuck with plan A, and went up the Twin Ribs.  

We only saw two teams on the ribs (whilst we were on them), one roped, the other solos. Sadly the roped team got to the bit of ice first that I was hoping to use my new ice screws on! 

The snow was a mix of neve, small bits of ice and some powder, but not too much to be a concern through the broken ground up to the Fiacaill Ridge.  

Willy belaying on the Twin Ribs. When we gained the ridge we saw more teams traversing it and one team coming up from Coire nan Lochan. We attempted to get shelter on a snow scoop whilst we had some lunch, but the spindrift was getting into everything, so we put the rope away and move on to the plateau. At the end of the ridge, the wind was at it's worst, and I felt for the guy having having to belay his team out of the couloir, whilst he sat in the freezing wind!       

We took a wide berth round the Goat Track, and headed east over to 1141. At this point things were pretty atmospheric as the wind transported snow was racing across the plateau.

Definitley a goggles day on the Cairngorm Plateau!

Looking back to Aladdins Buttress and Aladdins Couloir from near 1141.  

Fiacaill Ridge, with the Twin Ribs just left of centre below the low point of the ridge. Fiacaill Buttress and Couloir to the left. 

HD Video of the day.