Saturday, 21 January 2012

Day 1 Winter Mountaineering Course.

The descent.
Between the gusts at 700m.
Charlie leading.
Joe's belay!
Today was Joe and Charlie's first day of their four day course. Joe had been on a Manchester University Mountaineering club, Winter Skills Course with us a few years ago so it was great to see him again and meet Charlie. Both keen winter walkers they are looking to progress onto steeper snow and more technical ridges. I was joined by Scott an Aspirant MIC whom I am mentoring. It's great having him along to look after me.
Options were limited today as the wind was gale force and howling through Glencoe. Fresh snow was being put down in the gullies and on lee slopes. We concentrated on rock belays and scrambling techniques in the relative shelter of The Zig Zags. This worked really well as we could split the day into two, rock and snow. We looked at essential skills from running belays to taking stances and moving together and relating all this to winter. Allot of hail was blown around today and the ledges began to turn white as we reach approx 600m.
We continued over to Stob Coire nan Lochan which was exciting due to the very gusty squalls being thrown at the ridges, we often had to sit out the stronger gusts and move between salvos.
Surprisingly not much new snow seemed to be in the Coire on our descent. However as we descended fresh snow was falling and the wind direction changed to more Northerly direction. Freezing level was well above 900m. Other teams were seen in the Lochan area running skills courses.
It Certainly felt and looked more like winter today.
I am staying in the Club Hut in Glencoe over the next two nights so blogging will resume on my return.