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Sunday, 29 March 2009

Drifting snow and red scoured faces



A nice sunny day but with strong biting SW winds and huge amounts of drifting snow. Ken and Dave were joined today by Kim and Fi in search of the missing rucksack. This was quickly located - no luck with the missing ice axe though.
We all headed up the Coire Cas mesmerised by the huge rivers of sun sparkling spindrift and graupel cascading over the Coire Cas headwall and ridge. Every so often we were buffeted by typhoon like glittering snow devils as we observed ridges of sastruga being created before our very eyes.
Kim and Fi left us as they headed up Coronation Wall into the wind while we contoured around Cairngorm into a calm and sheltered Ciste Mhearid. We had a look at some of the huge snow holes, had lunch, dug avalanche pits near the huge cornice (a very week layer of graupel failed easily when we were digging our pit) and constructed our own emergency shelters.
The winds were a lot stronger in the afternoon as we headed down with hoods up and goggles on. The powder skiing in the Cas and Gunbarrel looked good in the morning though in the afternoon, snow boarders in particular were having a hard time against the wind on the ski area traverse! Other more exposed areas were being scoured down to old icy snow.
In Coire an t-Sneachda quite a few mixed routes were climbed on the rimed rock.
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