Just back from a great few snowy and sunny weeks in the French Alps to a surprisingly mild Scotland. We enjoyed some great ice climbing with virtually every route to ourselves in contrast to the queues of a few seasons ago...! Are all the Brits now going to Norway? We also enjoyed some fantastic 'James Bonds' style powder skiing in the gullies and through alpine forests down to the village. Again the skiing was surprisingly cheap and quiet. When we left the north facing routes were still good and building but the warm temperatures and the sun were taking their toll of the south facing routes such as Caturgeas (video). We also witnessed some huge ice fall collapses and avalanches on the south facing routes in Vallon Diable. See Fi's blog at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/diary for recent conditions in and around La Grave in the Alps.
Back home in the Cairngorm's apparently it's been very stormy and wild which is ideal when you are abroad - the overall snow cover has been reduced recently by the mild and wet weather. The good news is that it is getting a lot colder and all the main gully line and corrie headwalls still have plenty of wet snow in them which is now refreezing solid. This will provide excellent snow ice for climbing on over the next few weeks.