Wednesday, 20 February 2013
The Aonach Eagach, The Dragons Tooth and Broad Gully over the last three days.
Over the last three days I have been guiding and instructing in Glencoe. On Monday I was working alongside Jamie Bankhead. We guided Andrew, James and Simon along the iconic Aonach Eagach ridge in totally Alpine conditions.They had been wanting to do this classic traverse for a longtime. It was one of the best days work I have experienced in the winter hills over 24 years! On Tuesday I was instructing Richard and Tom on The Dragons Tooth. This is a fabulous route for a combination of climbing and mountaineering skills. A 200 m grade II snow gully which the lads led themselves and then a great exposed ridge scramble, which includes an abseil and followed by a Munro summit to boot! Both on Monday and Tuesday the sun shone giving an Alpine feel to the adventures. Early in the mornings the snow was superb for climbing on, by the late afternoon it was pretty soft and damp on the descents. Tuesday night was clear and cold creating fantastic neve for Wednesday's adventures.
Today, Wednesday, the weather was not as good, much colder with a harsh wind and very dense cloud down to 600 m. Tom, Richard and I headed to Broad Gully in Coire nan Lochan. The lads wanted to lead it themselves and make their own decisions on route, create their own rock and snow belays and try out their new axes. This they did really well. On walking out from the coire it was getting warmer and the snow was being stripped back quickly below 600 m. There is however loads of snow in the gullies high up. We met folk who said both Twisting Gully and on Forked Gully were in good nick! Happy days. Now for the next five days of HPL skills courses in the mountains. Fingers crossed on the weather.