Sandy Paterson Mountaineering

This is a blog of my personal and work climbing along with all the other things I do in the outdoors. Please feel free to have a look at my main website.

Over winter I will try and blog at the end of each week, however I will aim to tweet each day so feel free to follow me @SandyPMIC

Monday, 10 January 2011

Winter Skills Weekend

On the top of Cairngorm
I spent the weekend with Mark, Hannah and Stuart on a winter skills course in the Cairngorms. With the aim of making them self reliant winter walkers by the end of the weekend we had much to cover.

On Saturday we headed into Coire an t' Sneachda and did a loop around the corrie looking at boots skills, ice axe arrests, crampons skills and snow analysis. On Sunday the plan was to go for a longer journey to practice these new skills plus look at more avalanche assessment and some navigation. We headed out to spot height 1141 stopping a few times to look at snow profiles on the Cas headwall area which was filling in quickly. We then headed up and over Cairngorm in zero visibility and navigated our was down to Ciste Mhearad. Here we looked at some more movement skills on steeper snow plus some more avalanche assessment. We then navigated our way back down An t-Aonach to the car park.

All in all a great weekend with good conditions and great company.

The ski centre was not as busy as I was expecting for the weekend but Sneachda was very busy. Good conditions in the gullies with all the regulars being done. Fiacaill Buttress was quiet (due to the approach slopes) but all the other crags were busy. Patches of windslad seemed to be on all aspects and we saw the odd small avalanche. All change today with more snow coming in and strong winds moving it around the SAIS forecast makes for sobering reading!

Hopefully out tomorrow on the planks with Andy.

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