Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ski mountaineering racing finally comes to Scotland

I've organised lots of things in my life, but I have never organised a Ski Mountaineering race before.

However, yesterday, Skimo Scotland held the first ever Ski Mountaineering race in Scotland.

From a 26 strong starting list, 18 racers lined up to complete as many laps as possible in 90 minutes.

Thankfully the weather Gods, had left us some snow, dropped the wind speed but increased the temperature.

Trust me, climbing any winter route that I have done, is a damn site easier than organising these races!

Next race is at Glenshee on the 19th January.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas and Avalanches

It must have been cold yesterday on the summit of Cairngorm because we were wearing all our clothes.

Certainly beats stuffing my face and gouching in front of the telly all day - obviously completely acceptable in the afternoon.

Today, Fran and Di fancied a change of scenery so headed towards Glenshee and had an amazing day following the avalanche debris.

The 3 big north west facing corries off the Glas Maol - Cairn of Claise ridge were some of the biggest I have seen for some time.

Time to sit in front of the telly and stuff my face now :)

Merry Christmas blogee's.

Monday, 17 December 2012

"make hay whilst the sun shines"

I survived the lecture theatre at Glenmore Lodge on Saturday evening.

If I am honest, the body wasn't up for much expect for a skin on Sunday [that will be the dancing and not the alcohol obviously].

Pretty large avalanche in Coire Cas on either Saturday night or early hours on Sunday morning - remember that the SAIS are now reporting and forecasting.

Entries close for the inaugural Skimo Scotland race, to be held at the Lecht on the 29th December, this coming weekend.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

sticil face

"The Sticil Crag, later named the Shelter Stone Crag, is a massive 800ft, north wall of slabby granite situated at the west end of Loch Avon.  It is one of the most imposing cliffs in Britain..." Cold Climbs

I love climbing a route, and then reading about it :)

One of my blogs will never do a route like this justice, but yesterday was of the best days I have ever had in the mountains.

Amazing views, an amazing route with some amazing company - there is lots to be said for climbing as a 3.

And like nearly all my experiences of climbing on the Shelter Stone, it always leaves the final sting until the very end :)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

a very slow day

If I thought the drive over West was slow, it was nothing compared to the teetering slow walk into the Ben today ...

... and that was nothing compared to the slow swim up the route ...

... and that was absolutely nothing compared to the slow drive back home east.

Monday, 3 December 2012

what a difference a day makes

Not much to say today.

Walked in.

Wrong route choice.

Walked out.

Time for a time change of scenery.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

amazing everything conditions

There was lots of love on the hills today, especially from the tourers who for once probably outnumbered the hillwalkers and climbers.

Madeleine has never been to Scotland before and is now under the impression that it is like this every day in the mountains.

Today was all about the mileage, so that Madeleine can try out her new super duper boots in preparation for Aconcagua in a couple of weeks.

Into Coire an t-Sneachda, up onto the Fiacaill Ridge and then along the corrie rim before standing on Madeleine's first Munro - Cairngorm.

Madeleine also discovered that Di does know everybody on the mountain, and for those that she doesn't know, they know her!

Friday, 30 November 2012

back on the planks

It was going to be impossible to beat yesterday's ski, but it's nice trying.

Today, we thought that we would remain a little bit lower and decided to head over to the Lecht Ski Centre.

Couldn't believe our luck when we discovered that all the pistes had been groomed, no down tracks in place and the only other people around were the guys working hard, in preparation for tomorrow.

We started at the left hand side and literally worked our way across the pistes and then crossed the road and skied some more.  Bit thin in places but its only November so can't really complain.

The Lecht is open tomorrow for the first day of the season - wrap up warm, its going to be a cold one.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Amazing touring conditions

By far the best days are the completely unexpected.

Fran & Di went for a mini tour around the Cairngorms today - our plans changed every hour but we're girls and we can do that.

Up the Goat track, over 1176m, down into Coire Raibeirt, up to Cairn Gorm, down to Stac an Fharaidh, back up Cairn Gorm before hot chocolate at the Ptarmigan Restaurant and a great descent down the MI.

So, it wasn't waist deep powder, but it's Scotland and it doesn't get much better than this.

Don't believe me, check this out:

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

a funny breed

Climbers - we are a funny lot.

All summer we wait for the snow to arrive and when it does finally arrive we spend all day clearing it off the ledges and out of the cracks.

It was cold today.  In fact it was a six layer day and that included the walk out and that doesn't happen often.

Dave H required absolutely no persuasion what so ever to return to Cha-no and armed with knowledge from the previous day, we actually managed to climb a couple of routes.  Ok, Dave climbed and I just flayed pathetically.

They were called 'hard' and 'desperate'.

Oh, I managed to drop my crumpler case and 3 new batteries down the crag today and couldn't hold back from looking over the IFMGA's shoulder to make sure that he was taking the compass bearing correctly as we headed home - old habits die hard :)

Thanks to Dave for another brilliant day on the hill.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

the start of my winter skinning season

First a winter route, and now a skin - you would think that winter has finally arrived.

Couldn't believe how much snow had fallen on the hill - was fully prepared for an enjoyable skin and a painful walk back down but, alas no.

Enough snow for the 'survival snow plough' - not pretty but effective - descent.  Bad enough when you have your ski legs on but brutal when you don't.

Great to see lots of workers preparing the slopes for the start of the season - won't be long now.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

the start of my winter climbing season

My winter climbing season finally got off the ground today.

Todays criteria:

1. Really don't want to drive too far because I will probably forget something.

2. Really don't want a sparrow fart start.

3. Ideally a short walk in.

4. Preferably something I hadn't climbed before.

After a troll through the SMC Journal with some direction from Simon Richardson's excellent database, I found what I was looking for.

By far the hardest part of the day was finding the top of the Recovery Gully for the descent into Creagan Cha-no.

Haven't a clue what we climbed, but enjoyable still the same.  Never forgot anything, never thought I was going to die at any stage, never saw a sole all day and managed to navigate in and out without getting lost - bonus.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Something is wrong ...

... when 90% of icons on your computer are Skimo Scotland!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

falling out of love with the west

On Monday I left Grantown on Spey where it was -5.  By the time I drove to Fort William it was +7 and peeing with rain.   Didn't have the heart to get my camera drenched.

Today, we headed West again and were rewarded with some fine Scottish views.  

Not a whiff of frozen stuff but there were a couple of soggy snow patches hanging on for dear life.

Friday, 2 November 2012

garbh choire

The best plans are often the last minute ones.

Yesterday, we could have scraped our way up a route but we decided to have a mini adventure instead.

Not content with Ben MacDui, we continued to Carn a'Mhaim (that shall now be called the never ending hill), before heading down into the Glen for the night.

Derek: "Di, you take me to all the best places ..."

Di "[snigger]

A little bit surprised to wake up to rather a lot of snow.

After a couple of hours battling up Angels Ridge - and getting nowhere - we made the hard decision of abandoning Plan A.

Plan B wasn't exactly a stroll in the park, as we trudged back through the Lairig Ghru and many hours later we finally arrived back at civilisation :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

south of sanity

The only bit of equipment that I can easily get my hands are my trainers so I have fully embraced making a tit of myself at random races - the home bakes are well worth it.

This time, 10 years ago I embarked on the first of many trips south.

Many happy memories with some amazing people.

Therefore, blatant plug for Kirk's Film which is showing in the Aviemore cinema this wednesday.