Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Sunday, 30 March 2014

30-03-14, Coire an t-Sneachda - Winter Climbing

It has started to warm up again. 2 days winter climbing in the Cairngorms this weekend. Yesterday the freezing level was 700m and the Fiaciall Buttress was lightly rimed, the freezing level rose through out the day to above the summits and it was plus 3 degrees on the summit today. Not many climbing teams out, some ski tourers walking with skis on the plateau! We climbed on the Mess of Pottage today, the rock was very dry, Yukon Jack start good icy snow for the crampons and dry cracks in the wall for torques and gear, Hidden Chimney not so hidden at the moment, but the snow is quite slushy!

Friday, 28 March 2014

28-03-14, Neist Point, Skye - Scottish Rock Climbing

'Tourist Attraction', Bay 3.
 The past couple of days I have been rock climbing with Mehmet at Neist Point, westerly tip of Skye. As always Neist was fantastic, good value, long, quality single pitch dolerite routes, where the 1 * routes are actually very good! The easterly winds didn't affect us and the sun was out, fine climbing, fine surroundings.

'Side Step', Bay 3.

'The Old Warden', Cumhann Geodha.

'Bridging Interest', Financial Sector.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

24-03-14, North West Highlands

Alternative view into the back of Beinn Eighe, Liathach, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Alligin.
Beinn Dearg and Sgurr Mor.
Sgurr Mor - 'The Resurrection'
Watch the road! An Teallach.
An Teallach.
An Teallach.
Gruinard Bay.
Beinn Eighe, Triple Buttresses, straight line view into 'Morrison's Gully' on the right.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

23-03-14, Cairngorms - Winter Skills

Winter has returned and another weekend of winter skills in the Cairngorms. The last 2 days have given some new snow on the East highlands (not as much as reported in Lochaber though), along with freezing level down to 500-700m. Some new wind slab has been forming on lee slopes of the mountain, with a changeable wind direction over the past 48 hours, set to swing around again tonight. It is however quite obvious where these pockets of dangerous snow are at the moment.

'Advanced winter skills'!
Coire an Lochain.

Wind slab forming again.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

19-03-14, West and East Highlands - Winter Mountaineering

 After only 3 days of fine weather, it has been back to the standard ming-fest for the past 6 days! Over the weekend I was working on a mountaineering course in the West Highlands, we managed to learn some skills and traverse Stob Coire nan Lochain, then ascend Ledge Route on Ben Nevis in super pea soup, though winds weren't as bad as forecast. A massive avalanche was reported; and we heard it, coming down Observatory gully. Some multi-pitch rock climbing in Polldubh was required on Monday to keep moral going! I have been over East side the past couple of days working on a Winter Mountaineering Skills course. The Highlands have been going through a thaw for awhile now, maybe two and a half weeks? A lot of snow has disappeared, but in the north and east facing corries there is still plenty of snow above 900m. Buttresses are very black, cornices are reducing in size, and falling down, along with loose rocks, the snow has lots of cracks. After wishing for a thaw most of the winter we could now do with the freezing level dropping and some new rime forming!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

12-03-14, Ardmair and Stone Valley, North-West Highlands - Scottish Rock Climbing

Garry on Moondance, Ardmair.
High pressure, North-West glorious rock climbing. Garry and I have just had an awesome experience of 2 days cragging in the North-West Highlands in optimal conditions. Ardmair yesterday and Stone Valley today.
Terrace Crack, Ardmair.
The Dance Floor, Ardmair.
Open Secret, Stone Valley.
Touch and Go variant.
Stone Valley.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

07-03-14, Cairngorms - Winter Climbing

 Another tough week in the highlands. Quite windy and now warm. Lots of snow starting to melt away, plus temperatures on the summits, there have been some avalanches and some cornice collapse but still some monsters hanging in up there. Some stable but warm weather forecast for this week. Possibly time to get the rock shoes out?!
Slides below Jacob's Ladder, Windy col.

Glacial features below Lochain.