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Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sunshine and shades!

The trend continues with the weather again not as forecast!! After a damp murky start the clouds soon lifted and the sun shone. There was very little wind too so it felt warm in the sun even with just a thermal top on. The views were stunning with the Cairngorm peaks sparkling above swirls of cloud.
I was with Su who following on from a winter skills course with us a two years ago was wanting to try some winter climbing.
Su had new boots and new Grivel G14 crampons to try out after being told by the shop that G12's were walkers crampons - along with Nomic axes another common trend these days!
We hiked up to plunge and dagger our way up the wind scoured icy east side of the Coire Laugh Mor headwall.
We avoided any potentially dangerous wind slab which fractured easily on different aspects on either side of us and dug several avalanche test pits en-route which failed easily in places.
After lunch on the plateau we bumped into Fi and a Tiso winter navagation group on the north ridge. We then headed over to the solitude of the ruined El Alamein refuge. The whole area had a very alpine feel to with it being overlooked by snowy peaks and steep corniced slopes and the refuge perched above Strath Nethy's sea of cloud!
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