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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cairngorm snow and rock 18th April 2011

On Monday it was sunny, warm with the rock dry. Folk (Glenmore night watch and staff) were out climbing Cardiac Arete/Ventrical, Fallout Corner, Magic Crack, Pygmy Ridge and Fingers Ridge and possibly the Needle.
I climbed up the Couloir for video of the 'Great Slab' mini glacier, crevasses and avalanche debris. I took photos of the climbers and had lunch on the fantastic viewing platform of Ewen Buttress before heading over the plateau and down the Goat-track donning my axe and crampons. Then crampons off  and axe away it was up Fingers Ridge. Across the plateau rim and then crampons on and down Aladdin's Couloir. This is now broken in the middle and the last 5 metres at the top. Back up via the Mirror playing on the old ice in the crevasses of the Mirror Direct! Then up Pygmy Ridge and over towards Jacob's Ladder to done the crampons one last time again for the descent and exploring the crevasses.
I had a quick amble up the winter route the 'Haston Line' which makes a fine easy summer rock route now all the turf has gone!!!!
Meanwhile Fi was guiding Ben MacDui and Derry Cairngorm and had good views across to Hell's Lum, Shelterstone, Braeriach and Coire Spatan Dearg. See her blog here for full detail and lots of photos.
The Hell's Lum and Coire Sputan Dearg crags are still running with water from the snowfields above but Stag Rocks and the Shelterstone were dry.
As mentioned previously an ice axe is useful on the approaches to the climbs and crampons pretty essential in the gullies and steep slopes due to old ice and hard snow in places.
A few more climbing photos and a video of the 'Great Slab' glacier later!
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