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Sunday, 18 November 2007

Snow again building up on Sunday!

After Saturdays big thaw the hills are white again and have now got a good covering of fresh snow as opposed to a hard frost! Several cm of snow fell on Sunday on top of a mix of soft and crunchy ground. This made conditions underfoot a tad slippery for the navigation course members! With all this wintry weather it's time to think about winter skills courses.
We're climbing in Spain over the next few weeks so the winter reports will be on hold until our return.

Warmer today but colder tomorrow so time to brush up on navigation

The Cairngorms may have lost their white frosting on Saturday but with the ground still cold should quickly regain their winter coat on Sunday. The weather was less wet and windy than forecast too so Fi's navigation course kept comfortable and dry all day.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Cloud free and sparkling white

After another overnight frost the Cairngorms were cloud free this morning and were were again sparkling nice and white.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Snow on the plateau and a lot more on the way

The past week has been fairly cold with light snow and frosts on the very highest summits.
The good news is that again on Sunday and into next week more cold weather and snow is forecast. This is great news as the general cooling and freezing of the ground and the slow snow buildup is what we really need for a reliable and sustained winter season.
We don't need the extremes of a hard frost and heavy snow one day and high summer temperatures a few days later!

The plateau is still white though the bulk of rime and frost on the lower crags dissapeared on Tuesday but built up again later. However apart from the very very tops of some of NE Braeriach gullies there is very little snow buildup in the classic snow and ice routes in the Cairngorms. The higher mixed routes when frozen are being climbed though correct route selection and timing is crucial as conditions can change within hours. Some great photos of climbing conditions on Thursday can be found on the Ice Factors blog. Winter routes such as Fluted Buttress Direct, Orginal Route, The Seam, Ewen Buttress, Hybrid, Physical Graffiti, Migrant and more were all climbed during week in mixed or was it a a mix of conditions...!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Cold, calm and clear

12th November 2007... After the storms of the past few days Monday dawned cold calm and clear. It was a lovely day for winter walking on the sparkling rimed grass. There is very little snow though as it had all but melted during Saturdays thaw. Climbing conditions looked very poor and dangerous on the easier lines but were probably reasonable on the harder rock routes. The ground surface was only partially frozen but there were smears of water ice and a thin frosting and rime on the corrie cliffs. A few experienced climbers were in Coire an t-Sneachda and later on a Sea King rescue helicopter too! Hope everyone was ok...

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Milder and browner then colder and whiter

A lot of the snow melted overnight and on Saturday leaving Cairngorm brown again. The good news is that it's to get quite cold and frosty over the next few days with further snow showers on Sunday. Monday looks like a good winters day...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Snow today rain tomorrow

The Cairngorms were looking white on Friday although most of the snow would have been blown over to the other side of the hill. The forecast is for milder temperatures and heavy rain on Saturday and this will probably melt all the snow before colder weather arrives again later on Sunday. Monday looks nice and cold with more snow forecast for next week. Worth checking out the new WinterHighland Coire Cas Webcam.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Bitterly cold with snow on the roads

Blizzard conditions and lying snow on the high level roads this evening making driving treacherous. Almost got avalanched by snow sliding off Tesco's roof in Aviemore...!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

WOW 100 mph NW winds and snow to 350 metres!

A power cut this evening heralded the start of the storms!
The forecast for Thursday and Friday is definitely very wintry with 70 mph NW winds gusting to over 100 mph on the tops giving a wind chill of minus 22! Milder on Saturday with the return of more cold weather on Sunday and Monday...
So it's worth packing the axes, crampons, gloves, woollies and windproofs if heading out over the next week...

Stormy and mild overnight

With all the talk last night at the Inverness climbing wall about getting a winter route in, it had to happen. The snow on Cairngorm melted overnight and with the strong winds the rock is now bone dry. Sunny today but still too chilly and windy for rock climbing up high! The forecast is still looking stormy and wintry for the days ahead.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Dusting of snow

The weathers was a lot more unsettled and very wet and windy on Monday and again today on Tuesday.
It looks like there is to be more of the same over the next few days so time to work on the website...
BTW the new "Cairngorm Rock and Ice" just popped through the letterbox and the new colour photo topos and route description are excellent. There are many new routes included together with improved descriptions of the existing routes. There has also been much needed revised grading on some of the routes due to changing winter conditions. An excellent publication...

Sunday, 4 November 2007

New SMC Cairngorms Rock and Ice Guidebook surprise...

I recently posted a few lighthearted comments on winter climbing grades on the UKClimbing forum saying that with the new SMC 'Cairngorm Rock and Ice climbing' guidebook being due out soon I would need to purchase the latest guidebook along with an extra book shelf to accommodate my growing Cairngorm's guidebook collection...
The following day Fi mentioned "what do you think of Andy Nisbet's comment about my complimentary copy and pleasant surprise on the front cover..." I hadn't noticed the post and I couldn't believe my eyes when I did quick search on the SMC publications website. Yes there was a thumbnail picture of the new guidebook front page and of Fi in red with a white helmet climbing the fingers on Finger Ridge.
It was one of the photos of a classic day out guiding with Dave, a regular client, that I'd sent in to the SMC a few months earlier. It had been chosen as the front cover of the new guide. Was I and Fi chuffed...!
Later on we had a cheeky look at the guidebook in the shops and found three of the photos I'd sent in had been used in the guide. One photo of Fi taken by me and two photos of me taken by Fi meant a complimentary copy and a nice cheque for both of us...
The new Cairngorm's guide can be purchased from the SMC website at http://www.smc.org.uk/Publications/Publications.php?ID=49 and all good outdoor shops...
The guidebook is a real bargain and recommended by us as a great guide to the Cairngorms. It has great topos and lots of recent action photos...!

School mid-term 13th-15th October rock climbing course

Scottish rock climbing can be a hit and miss affair especially in the Autumn with the onset of colder wintry weather always a possibility at this time. However with the Indian summer in September things were looking really good for October.

Classic mountain routes that had been weeping all summer were now dry and all this despite the snow and winter climbing in September...!

Steven and his brother Craig joined us again for another course in preparation for his trip to climb Mont Blanc in July 2008. We were also joined by Gerry who now too is inspired to climb in the Alps and keen to lead more rock routes and climb with his young family...

11th October and it's baking in Ballater

It was the 11th of October and we had glorious autumnal weather, in fact it was almost too hot to climb on the sunny south facing crag at the Pass of Ballater...

2nd October and it's a Clean Sweep

Dry rock, sun and blue skies in October.... Lots of pictures and the full story can be found on Fi's Marmotte website at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/the_clean_sweep.htm
Inspired by the pictures on WinterNet Al Halewood of The Ice Factor and his wife Jane also have a recent post on climbing The Clean Sweep the following weekend. See http://alanhalewood.blogspot.com/2007/10/clean-sweep-7-oct.html