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Sunday, 2 March 2008

Good conditions on Cairngorm

Fresh snow down to low levels this morning. Despite the forecast for strong winds Sunday was pretty calm and sunny for most of the day.
We walked into Coire an t-Sneachda which looked to be in great winter condition. Almost every climb in the guidebook had a team climbing on it. From gullies to buttresses climbers were everywhere though some of the ice routes looked very very thin and the Mirror Direct was actually free!
The snow cover from the trident area round to the the back of the coire is excellent with good firm snow right down to the coire floor. Crossing the boulder field was straight forward too as the snow had consolidated well.
We climbed up the Goat Track on firm neve, crusty snow and the odd patch on fresh slab. On the plateau there was really good cover of firm snow on all the east facing slopes and thinner cover on other aspects.
We spent a few hours looking at snow shelters before practising navigating out just as the winds and snow showers came in.
The cover on the plateau was quite strange with a crusty surface layer of water ice on top of drier powder snow in places...!
More photos and a video clip can be found at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/diary
All in all a great day and what looks like good climbing condition starting to build, weather permitting for next week. Whoopee!
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