Making the best of it
Saturday 18th 2014

This weekend I flew up to Scotland (very jet set) mainly for an Avalanche CPD course, but it was also a good opportunity to sneak a couple of climbs in. Unfortunately yet again the weather was trying to stop play but Jake and I were having none of it. We headed in early to try and beat the worst of the weather, but by now the winds were starting to pick up and the snow was falling, not wanting to take the hint we made our way to the base of the Fiacaill Buttress in Corie an t-Sneachda. We were both keen to get on lead especially as we were planning on climbing The Seam, a route that we have both been wanting to climb for a couple of years, but as Jake had kindly allowed me to sleep in their lounge and cooked me dinner I was more than happy to hand over the sharp end, and I have to say Jake made quick work of the main crux pitch which felt sustained for the grade but it’s very hard to tell when you second a pitch. By the time we reached the top we were both vey cold but unwilling to head back early we opted for another slightly easier route where we could keep moving nice and fast, Invernookie ticked all the boxes so we headed up. As all the rock was so iced and plastered in snow finding gear on route seemed a little difficult, also we had the surprise of another team already on the climb we just couldn’t see them through the cloud. This meant a little bit of a pause at the belay but not for long. We topped out and decided enough was enough as we were struggling to walk in a straight line due to the strong gusts of wind. We started to make our way back to the car park; it didn’t take long with the wind behind us. We were both chuffed to get some excellent climbing in on a day when most people we spoke to had decided not to bother.

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Our rope being blown up the crag!

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Avalanche CPD
Sunday 19th 2014

Today I had the opportunity to attend an Avalanche CPD Training day funded by The Chris Walker Memorial Trust. The Training is provided by Sport Scotland Avalanche Information Service, these are the guys that provide the avalanche service that we all use in winter and this was a chance to see the process that the avalanche professionals go through every day to provide us with this invaluable service. It is very hard to condense this day in to a small blog post, but here is a brief outline. Our guru for the day was Graham Moss, we met up at 8:30 for a chat and a quick lecture, then headed up to Aonach Mòr for a “poke around” and to look at different slope aspects to see if we could make a prediction for tomorrow’s Avalanche report. This involved a bit of digging here and a poke around there, then a sneaky look around the east face to see what the climbing looked like! Next we wondered back along the Lemming Ridge, heading down towards the Gondola. Back in the class room we made our predictions and I’m happy to say we all came up with very similar results not an exact match for tomorrow’s prediction but not far off. A great day out and we all picked up some top tips from the avalanche pro’s.

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Ski hut at the top of Aonach Mòr, fully rimed up!