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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Frosty sunny and hot!

Calm alpine like weather and dry rock in the Cairngorms, though with a hard frost and icy slabs first thing in the morning. A stunning walk in spoilt only by the fresh mountain bike scars on the path and the morraine ridge.

With old snow patches and dry rock we took the opportunity to practise for the Alps by climbing in big boots with the rope shortened and coiled. We used direct belays and natural runners as we climbed up Afterthought Arete.
Once the sun hits and the temperature rises there's excellent rock climbing in the mountains though a few areas still need care due to the snowy approaches, or in the case of Hells Lum, the snow and drainage from above.
In the sun away from any snow melt the granite is bone dry and a real joy to climb on.
Climbing conditions are similar to that normally experienced in May and June - which is quite incredible as it's only March!!! Being March the daylight hours are limited and there's a rapid temperature drop with the clear skies as soon the sun starts to set.
Over the weekend we're bivvying about five hours from the nearest road and doing some alpine style snow routes, with early starts and finishes to make the most of the overnight frosts in the high Cairngorms...
More on Fi's blog here

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