Saturday, 9 March 2013
Wind scoured and a much better day than expected...
A brighter and less breezy day than on Friday as Thomas and I headed into as almost deserted Coire an t-Sneachda to ice climb.
The avalanche forecast was high but from what I'd seen yesterday many areas were wind scoured and there wasn't as much fresh snow or wind slab as expected.
The initial plan was to climb on a windward facing route to avoid any wind slab. However, contrary to what you'd expect the winds were swirling around the coire and coming from the complete opposite direction and scouring the routes lee route and loading some of the windward routes.
I also new we could easily avoid any cornices and would be totally sheltered in some of the lee gullies as long as the exit was OK!
Thomas had been on a Winter Skills as well as the advanced Winter Mountaineering course and was wanting to try something a little bit harder and icier today. We headed up to one of the variation routes at the side of the Goat Track.
Unusually there was nobody else about so we decided to climb the main gully which was in excellent condition from top and completely sheltered apart from the odd blast of spin drift.
We topped out onto the plateau which was fine and headed back down via Point 1141 passing some climbers exiting Aladdin's Couloir which was also apparently well scoured and with an easy un-corniced exit.
Some of the other routes such as Crotched and the Trident Gullies do have big fresh cornices as do, Jacob's Ladder and the Windy Col area.
We kept our crampons on until we reached the surprisingly empty car park so the skiing if it was open would have been a wee bit firm!