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Monday, 15 December 2008

Very windy...!

A lovelly red sky this morning over the Cairngorms - the shepherd's warning! This fitted in well with the forecast gusts of 50mph and a rise in temperatures later on Monday and Tuesday. Actually not such a bad forecast when you are used to winds well in excess of 100mph at this time of year.
I'd phoned Chris on Sunday to rearrange the days guiding from Tuesday to Monday make the most of the snow conditions before the worst of the winds and the temperature rise.
Compared to Thursday there had been a huge impovement in the Northern Corries snow cover which had really filled up with snow. Large cornices were evident over north and north east facing slopes and the corrie headwalls. The stability was suspect in many places.
There were lot's of folk climbing in Aladdin's Couloir and in Jacob's Ladder which were both well filled though I'm not sure if they would have been my first choice though I have been assured that the well formed bucket steps and slot through the cornice was fine on Jacob's Ladder. See http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/diary.html
Several parties were climbing on the white buttresses.
We climbed Hidden Chimney which was a bit of a swim and quite slabby. It has good belays and plenty of rock gear on the upper pitch though. On the exit onto the plateau the wind didn't appear too bad at first but that changed very quickly. When Chris floundered through the soft cornice we kept the climbing gear on and rapidly stuffed the rope into the sack to hurry back to the car!!
The winds on the plateau were gusting 80 to 90 mph and with each gust we hit the deck to prevent being blown over. We got back to the car and sorted the kit out in Aviemore. A really enjoyable full mountain day...!

YouTube video 15th December 2008
If you can't see the video above please click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-hhURZGimI
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