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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Skiing and summer rock on Finger's Ridge

Temperatures in the mid twenties and still some good piste and off piste gully skiing this weekend but with the very warm temperatures the snow cover has been receding fast compared to last week. The big NW facing gullies and slopes between Windy Col and Aladdin's Couloir are still full but the Trident Gullies are now thin or broken in places.
We met Aly returning from some uncompromising steep ski descents of Aladdin's Couloir, Jacob's Ladder and the Goat-Track and saw another skier exit from the Jacob's / Forty thieves / Aladdin's area.
There were climbers on Pygmy Ridge and Fiacaill Ridge and a couple followed us up to the START of Fingers Ridge?
The upper approach below Pygmy Ridge is now clear of snow but a large snowfield still guards Aladdin's Buttress and Fingers Ridge. The Goat-Track and coire headwall are still good for skiing!
We decided to do some easy alpine style rock climbing for a change and used our ice axes to good effect on the approach up onto Fingers Ridge. A steep 60 metre snow field and the potential for an ice screw runner provided additional interest to the normal summer rock climb's start - great fun if prepared with ice axes worrying if not!
It is worth noting that the winter frosts and extensive dry tooling have caused a lot more shattering of the rock on the ridge and the climb though good is a lot dirtier and looser than in recent years especially in the upper section.
The still extensive snowfields deterred a few hill walkers and summer climbers and with good reason. The old snow was very firm with areas of old ice in places. We saw a number of hill-walkers gingerly retracing their steps from the coire headwalls and one screeming, yelping, tread-milling dog had a near miss chasing a Ptarmigan at the top of the Goat-Track! All in all great conditions for all summer and winter outdoor sports. With the forecast of lowering temperatures next week all the remaining gullies will freeze solid to provide some good easy winter routes for June!
More info a photo's on Fi's blog here.

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