Friday, January 07, 2011

Northern Cairngorms Climbing

Today was a lovely, sunny if bitterly cold (-10c on top) day. The wind has moved round to the West / NW and continued to move lots of snow about, some more of which fell last night. One of the photos shows a slab being wind eroded from a North aspect but as there is still a lot of dodgy snow on the North aspects then this bad slab will be a problem for a while. It failed when i lightly touched it (the foot imprint at the side was gently pressed in for scale). The other picture shows the top of a due East facing slope that was loaded and ready to go. You should be able to make out the amount of snow blowing around in the picture. We did climb (a new line) on an East aspect but abbed down one side of a ridge and climbed back up the other. The snow on the crag apron was not as bad as the upper gullies and exits which were very nasty looking.
I saw dodgy snow on all aspects that i went on North, East and West (didn't go on anything south facing, but had a text from a very experienced pair who told me they backed off descending down a south facing slope into the Loch Avon basin). So in summary, careful route choice and travel are called for.
The climbing conditions were excellent though once on the crag, fantastic turf helpful ice in the corners and cracks (enough to climb on) and well rimed rocks. No pictures of the climbing though as i took my 'good' camera which isnt at all waterproof.
The weather people talk of a bit of a thaw coming which will be very good to help stabilise the pack i think.
I'm going to go on a low angled, lazy family ski tour on Saturday and it will involve lots of hot chocolate and cake i'm hoping.

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