Thursday, 13 March 2014

Stag Rocks

Went out with the aim of climbing the 3* classic Afterthough Arete (III) on Stag Rocks in Glen Avon the other day. Due to the still extensive snow cover I opted to ski tour over Cairngorm and ski down into Corie Raiberit. The snow was hard and icey but its coverage was almost total. No rock dodging, no grass patch veering, no intricate line required. Just point and go! Made even better by the absolutely cloudless skies..

After leaving the skis at the top of Stag Rocks I descended Diagonal Gully and at the base looked up at the obvious arete feature on the west side of the gully and guessed that was the way. After noticing the lack of worn rock and quite tough start I realized in my enthusiasm I had failed to read the guide properly (which was conveniently in the car!) and I was infact, on the wrong ridge.. I had by accident climbed up Serrated Rib (III). Ops!

The Northern Cories catching the last of the Sun

Ah well, not quite a 'Scottish classic' but good in the sunshine. The sunset from the top of spot height 1141m made up for the minor route deviation though!
Sunset from SH 1141m just before the descent in Coire Cas

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunshine somewhere

 From what I hear its been a rather nice day in the south. In fact in Devon its meant to 'ave bin bleddy 'ansome. Meanwhile in Scotland.. Stormy and warm!
 The big thaw has begun. So I decided to make the most of the snow while its still here and get out and do some ski touring. Only last week you could ski right out of the Cairngorm Mountain car park, I have to lug all the gear up to Corie An Lochain before there was anything near enough to skin up on.
 Looking over at Buttresses 1, 2 and 3 in Lochain from the West. The big 'crevasse' can be seen below which are indicative of the full depth avalanches that regularly occur in that part of corie! At least this warm weather might get rid of some of the biblically proportioned cornices baring access to the face routes.

The approach from Cairn Lochain to Ben Macdui was on hard snow with thick mist for most of the way. Skiing with a compass in one hand is defiantly an acquired technique (and no I still haven't acquired it yet!) made all the more interesting when the only things visible to use as bearing features is the odd Ptarmigan.

 The Summit of Ben Macdui. There is a shelter under there somewhere! 
 Looking over into the Loch Avon basin at a still winter-locked Carn Etchachan and Shelterstone Crag whilst being buffeted above Hell's Lum. At least I finally got a view!

  Clouds coming down and the wind is picking up. The weather closing in again at spot height 1141m. 

 Time for some descent decent! Looking back up at spot height 1141m before dropping into upper Corie Cas above the ski resort.

 After skirting the steepest corniced section I then dropped down into the Corie. Almost feel sorry for the people on the tows!
Another cracking day. Just not quite as warm as the rest of the UK it would seem!