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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Misty at first clearing later

It turned out quite a nice day in the afternoon before further snow flurries this evening.
I was out with a regular client James who hadn't done much winter climbing since his Mont Blanc trip three years ago. He wanted to refresh his general winter mountaineering and climbing skills.
We chatted about the rock climbing course he did with me a few years ago, only for him to remind me that it was actually in 1996 - about 12 years ago...! Also we looked at jumaring techniques using fixed ropes for his planned trip to climb Denali.
Despite a recent avalanche on a similar aspect yesterday we climbed Aladdin's Couloir. Today the snow was generaly firm and stable as it had consolidated well and had recently been scoured by the westerly winds. Jacob's Ladder look similar and the exit looked friendly now that the cornice had been scoured.
I chatted to a couple of French climbers who had just just climbed Patey's. The enjoyed the route but did comment on the lack of "glace". They were enjoying the Cairngorm mixed experience though and thought our granite was great...!
On our descent into the Cas we checked out the deep snow drift on a north easterly facing slope which released very easily as we walked across it.
Tomorrow James and Fi are snowholing as further preparation for his planned expedition which involves living for several weeks at altitude in the snow...
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