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Monday, 1 April 2013

A fantastic two days exploring and snowholing...

What a great two days and one night out on the Cairngorm massif with Vish, Mike and Fi. The cold sunny weather was perfect for snowholing and meant everything remained dry and warm, once inside our expedition snow-shelters.
On day one we headed up toward Ben MacDui via the Coire an Lochain ridge and had great views of the Lairig Ghru and the mighty Braeriach corries as we climbed. A bit of micro navigation across the plateau towards the 'Yellow Lochian' and then towards the buried "GUB" holes, where after a bit of probing, Vish and Mike set about digging their snowhole for the night.
Fi found our previous snowholes which we easily dug out before going to explore the buried "all the zeros"
We had some amazing views of the snowy buried Loch Etchachan before heading back towards the icy Loch Avon cirque, the Shelterstone and Hells Lum crags.

We then headed back to our predug shelters for soup, tea and cake and to check on the others. A few more brews from snowmelt, before our evening meal in the warmth of our sleeping bags. Fi fell asleep reading her book and the night passed quickly before being woken at dawn by the blazing sun on our east facing balcony doorway!
A breakfast of porridge, fruit, hot chocolate and plenty of tea before packing and sweeping out the shelters, for a trip up onto the nearby summit of Ben MacDui for the obligatory summit photo.
We then all headed back via the Northern Corries plateau edge avoiding the heavily corniced Goat Track descent route, then up and over towards Cairngorms Pt 1141 and down the Cas Ridge to our cars.

Snow conditions were perfect for skiing with a silky surface of hoar frost and yet still firm enough for easy walking. Needless to say, the huge overhung cornices around the main climbing areas had deterred most sensible climbers!

More photos and details on Fi's Marmotte Blog here
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