Sunday, 27 January 2013

George Heriot's School, Winter Walking Skills Course in Glencoe.

George Heriot's School staff and pupils returned for their annual winter walking skills weekend to Glencoe. It was fantastic to see even more young people on the course this weekend. 21 pupils signed up for the course  in the winter hills this year. We had a mixed bag of weather and conditions in Glencoe but that didn't stop their adventures this weekend. Saturday was a perfect day for survival skills as the new powder snow was perfect for building 'pile ups', understanding the snow pack [ a topical subject at present ] and avoiding avalanche terrain and making emergency survival  shelters. We were able to trigger small slab avalanches and the crown walls left illustrated how slab avalanches occur.

Our two groups heading up the hill in a dramatic landscape. 

Tunneling through small cornices we found.

The team in the Lost Valley.

A huge pile up shelter, we got eight people inside.

Some ice left in The Lost Valley.

Follow me team. 

Pretty testing conditions today.

Sunday, was all together different as a nasty front passed through the glen. A good morning and a dreadful afternoon as the wet snow returned above 500 m with the winds picking up dramatically and some thunder thrown! We opted to head up into The Lost Valley and to explore some ice bulges that were left and what snow was left at approx 600 m.  So lots of ice axe wielding  river crossings in the rising burns and using our crampons in the ever softening snow. Thanks to Ben Wallace, Mike Clifford and Ed Watson for working with me and inspiring the young people in testing conditions.  Great working with such a professional and experienced team and a fabulous bunch of young people. Can't wait for next year and before that the School are back in March for their 'Guided Winter Mountaineering Weekend'.