Saturday, December 25, 2010

A White Christmas

I hope that you have been enjoying this fantastic start the winter as much as I have. I'm currently on family duty and won't be in the hills again till the 2nd and so should probably catch up with the blog.
Last year we had an amazing start to the winter and many people were reminded of "How It Used To Be" back in the day when we had "Real Winters". Well, it looks like we may be in for a run off them if the weakened North Atlantic Ossilation has anything to do with it. Hopefully the news reports are not just a combination of wishful thinking by the winter sports fraternity in conjunction with bored journalists looking to fill column inches with speculation. Time will tell.
We have however seen a slew of interesting repeats and new routes being done. For instance on Beinn Bhan near Applecross Both the Godfather and The God Delusion have seen repeat ascents within a couple of weeks of each other rather than the more usual 10+ years of waiting for a successful ascent of the wall. It is probable that the Internet and the ease of access to quality information helps massively with this but the amount of strong climbers around now has mushroomed in the this new millennium. Winter mountaineering is probably no longer the weird esoteric pastime it once was (however when I was just explaining to my in-laws about mixed climbing then I did have a sudden epiphany that it is pretty weird and bizare!). The best website to get the real inside track on the more interesting ascents that I will be contributing to also is that run by Simon Richardson
The weather continues to be sub freezing but there is talk of a thaw in the next few days. This will be worth paying attention to and keeping an eye on the sais avalanche websites as I think that this will cause a significant increase in the avalanche risk. As you may know there isn't a fore sat for the NW but it is still worth looking at the west coast, meggy etc forecasts then looking at the weather and wind direction and using it as a guide. Generally the snow cover is still fantastic in the NW and places such as Sgurr fidhler have been in condition for several weeks now. Quinag and Sullivan are in great condition to for those who dislike even the thought of sharing their mountain with another climbing party!
When I can get to a computer (I can't load images via the iPhone) I'll put some pictures up taken from a recent first on the North side of Stac Pollaidh. This crag has excellent climbing with an even shorter walkin that Sneachda in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms.

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