Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Brutal on Bynack

I have a small Outdoor Research dry bag that has all my important things:

  • spare small gloves
  • goggles
  • neck gaiter
  • head torch 
  • big gloves
This is not the bag to leave behind.

This is certainly not the bag to leave behind on a very spindrifty day.

It feels like somebody has been sticking needles in the eyes all day.

When Divyesh said he wanted a minging day, he certainly got it.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

AAA Level 1

The winter is far from over.

Aberdeen MR Team have been out with Mike from the Avalanche Geeks this weekend on a AAA Level 1 course.

So not only am I happy that they can navigate and build good anchors, today they proved that they know all about the white stuff and can happily dig for Scotland.

The next mission is to reduce the size of their rucksacks :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Happy days

Over the past few years, Captain Willie has shown me parts of Scotland that I would otherwise never have seen.

So today, it was my turn to return the experience.  Now, Captain Willie & Ron are both pure Grantownions who learnt to ski on really really long straight skis.  In my books, if you can ski really really long straight skis you must be a good skier. 

With another stellar forecast for the West and the recent snow fall at Nevis Range, there was only one venue today...

... once again it was over the back.

Since it was a day off and I never had to drive home, it was the first time that I have sat on the veranda and drank a shandy.  Happy days.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Into Strath Nethy

Back to school today for Alec & James on the second day of the Mountaineering 4 Skiers course.

Despite the rumours that there isn't any snow in the Cairngorms we managed to enjoy a big descent into Strath Nethy.

The only thing about a big descent is that there is a big ascent to follow.

Tonight, I am going to have a hot date with a chocolate bar and a bottle of home brew.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

It was all about the Aspect

You know it's been a good day when you have taken 48 photos.

This weekend sees Alec and James on the Mountaineering 4 Skiers course that I run with Mike Austin from the Avalanche Geeks.  We were also blessed with Glen's presence - an American Guide who has only skied in Scotland once before, and that was Tower Gully.  So today it was buy two and get one free.

With a superb forecast and stellar conditions (yup, the clue is in the title folks - and if you got it wrong you would have been skiing boiler plate ice) we decided to make the most of the big mountain ski routes.

If you never knew better you would have thought you would have been skiing in the Alps today - just easier to get to and no crevasses to fall into.  Happy days ...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Total #mingfest

Magic?  The only thing that flowed today was the bloomin mountain due to the sogginess of it all!

Obviously head torches were worn at 0930 for the solar eclipse - needless to say that we never saw a thing.

I was really torn about heading West or remaining East today and even though it was particularly ming this morning, I dread to think what the West was like.  Not really rain, just soggy drizzle, wind and tit all visibility.  Absolutely perfect conditions for ski touring.  Apart from the lack of vis and the lack of snow, we actually found some very good snow off the back of Cairngorm.

In fact, it was so good we managed to get in 2 good runs before I realised that once again it was getting late.  And if I'm honest the afternoon turned out quite nice.

Thanks to Rob at Expedition Guides for 2 cool days work and thanks to 6 brilliant guys and dolls for bringing smiles and giggles to the hills. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Heather skiing ...

... and for once not skiing with Heather.

Conditions for running an introduction to ski touring is far from ideal on the East Coast.  However, by hook or by crook, we managed to find the snow.

I've put on my Expedition Guide hat on for the first time - it just about fits Rob - and had a fabby day with a top team.

This pretty much sums up the day:

Absolutely no idea on where to go tomorrow but I'm sure that the magic will flow somewhere.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Aberdeen MR Team

I don't really want to be rescued by any Mountain Rescue Team but if I did, I would want Aberdeen MRT to come to my aid.

It's not because they are great at what they do, it's because they are are really great at what they do.

A weekend of ridiculous tightening up of their micro navigation skills and tweaking a few ropey things.

Failed miserably on getting them to reduce the size of rack they carry; failed miserably on getting them lost and failed miserably on getting them tied up in ropes. 

Succeeded in not killing anyone with the home brew; succeeded in not dropping anybody off the end of a rope and succeeded in getting sunburnt (never noticed that until I took the hat off once home) #stupidtanline.

Massive thanks to Heather, Guy and Ken for helping out and a massive thanks to the Team for such a memorable weekend.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Very big grins

If I am perfectly honest I'm not really a club person.  However, in order to meet like minded people sometimes you just have to take the plunge.

It was Donald from the Inverness Backcountry Snowsport Club that suggested a Friday hit and since the weather had been pretty ming recently I asked to tag along.

So, Hebe, Alastair, Susan and I were most certainly in the right place at the right time.

After a couple of runs down the front face, we switched aspect and were rewarded with a lovely descent down both Summit Gully and Spike Gully - I think that's what they are called - if I am honest my ski knowledge of Aonach Mor is slightly limited to the back corries and Skimo courses.

Lets be honest, when Scotland is good it is brilliant.

Very few climbers out on the East Face of Aonach Mor but good reports coming in from the Ben.

Thanks guys for letting me tag along :)

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

What, no wind?

What a difference a day makes - no goggles for a change.

Great day out with Mike & Doug as they took me up Crotched Gully -  their first winter lead.

I love my job :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A quick hit

The weather forecast was certainly better for this morning so we thought it was better to get in, get a route done and get out. 

It's not often I carry ice screws into the corrie but today we only had one route in mind - Aladdins Mirror Direct.  Fantastic condition with bomber placements.

No photo's of the climb but the ptarmigan was certainly worth trying to capture on film.  Looked pretty ming as we headed out, feeling smug after Sunday's battering.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A proper kickin'

Yup, got a proper kicking' today in the corrie.

Somebody forgot to tell the winds that they were supposed to ease during the day.  So, only managed one pitch before bailing :(