Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Winter Walking Skills Training Day on Aonach Mor.

Heading for the Nid Ridge at approx 1000 m

Sophie having fun on the steeper snow.

2.30 pm looking NW.

Essential foot work practice equals not falling!

Soggy start to the day, but still smiling.

We were out today instructing winter walking skills on Aonach Mor. Driving into Fort William this morning felt utterly depressing as the heavy rain lashed the windscreen. However, as so often happens if you go out it rewards one with fine views and better than expected conditions and so it came to pass! By lunch time we were walking on firm snow, seeing breaks in the cloud and blue skies. By two o'clock the sun came out. The wind kept blowing though! Surprisingly even though allot of snow has receded we found some good long patches to link up and some steeper sections over the droopy cornice onto the Nid Ridge. Today the group after a discussion of gear and how to carry it, concentrated on using our boots as tools for essential foot work, use of the ice axe and crampons for ascent and descent. Much discussion was had comparing summer and winter walking and personal organisation of equipment in the harsher conditions of winter. Our ascent was made onto steeper ground after careful consideration of conditions and coaching of appropriate skills. The Groups extrinsic and intrinsic feed back paid off, as everyone felt they had achieved their personal aims for the day. It is fantastic to see folk happy especially when most of the group had never walked in snow before.We are out again on Thursday so I hope the promised cold front helps to stabilize what snow is left above 800m. What ever happens being outside in Scotland is always worth the effort, great fun and totally magical.