Monday, 30 January 2017

Manchester University Mountaineering Club winter courses weekend 2017.

Well the snow returned in Glencoe right on que this weekend.

We were working with twenty two keen students from MUMC on their annual winter safety and skills weekend.

We had instructors out on Intro Climbing, Intro to Winter Mountaineering and Winter Hill Walking skills courses.

We based the team in Glencoe and used a variety of venues on Ben Nevis and in Glencoe.

Conditions are wintry but we still require more snow and some freeze thaw to consolidate the base and the potentially loose rocks which are to found on the ridges and in the gullies. Please be careful out there. There are only a handful of easy gullies complete so they are getting busy. Ice is forming slowly and the classic ridges are in winter condition just now, but thin.

Winter Mountaineering techniques day one. 

One of the winter walking groups in Glencoe. 

Day two after completing the classic School House Ridge. 

Day one walking groups out learning essential foot work and the climbers in Broad Gully putting all the skills together. 

Ruth on Dorsal Arete. Learning to lead. 

Always a good feeling leading a winter route. 

School House Ridge. Classic mountaineering ground on day two. 

Winter Munro bagging on day two. Essentials to safe travel and hill going. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

A catch up from the last two weeks. Winter Courses 2017 so far.

Winter has been slow to start this year, but that is not unusual. There was very little snow in January 2008 and it didn't develop a good snow base in January at Glencoe Ski slopes last year.  So as the temperatures fluctuated around freezing at 900 m we wait for the pressure systems to swing away from a predominant south westerly directions and deliver us all some white gold to transform the cliffs and gullies.

We have at Hebridean Pursuits been using our imaginations somewhat to find suitable snow and pleasingly we have been finding material to use to instruct or guide on.

We have had a variety of clients so far from school groups on winter walking skills courses to mentoring future Mountaineering Instructors.

The dominant feature of this month has been low cloud, but above it at approximately 750 m we have had some excellent inversions. These are fairly rare to experience and to have many days of them has been wonderful.

Busy times lay ahead from this weekend onward, so fingers crossed winter does return in it's finest glory. Today Ben Cruachan is covered in snow so here's to the weather Gods.

A word of warning, some areas around gully heads and on ridges are loose and unconsolidated at present. Also the gully lines that are still in condition are becoming busy and that can result in folk knocking down loose rocks or snow and occasionally dropping equipment which all can result in injury to those below. Please be careful.

Andy Spink teaching navigation in the Cairngorms.

Snow anchors training, Intro winter climbing course.  

Digging bucket seats on a winter skills course. 

Inversions have dominated recently. Glencoe in all it's finery. 

Essential foot work on day one of a winter walking course at the weekend.

Steve on the Beinn Fhada ridge. A fine and lesser frequented ridge route in Glencoe.  

Iain, Kary and Inga learning to move around in steep snow, winter mountaineering day one.   

Stob Coire nan Lochan had reasonable snow in it last week. 

The middle section of NC Gully is a little broken, but fun. 

Patrick topping out NC Gully.  

George Heriot's School on their annual Winter Walking Skills Course. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Winter is back. Sron Na Larig in Glencoe today.

Andy Spink was out mentoring Cliff who is working towards his MIC award.

They headed onto the fine exposed crest of Sron Na Larig in Glencoe. The route was being plastered with new snow being driven be strong westerly winds. Cliff guided and instructed Steve on the route.

A brilliant day in reasonable weather and the ground is starting to look much whiter. Ice was building at 850 m and the snow settling on the turf. Great news after a slow warm start!

A week of stormy weather and snow forecast is expected. We wait to see with excitement how much is laid down and how the winter routes develop he in Scotland.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Glencoe today. In search of elusive snow in gully lines. And we found one!

Seek and you may find!

 A beautiful day in Glencoe today. Winter conditions are very thin in the hills at the moment. It is fair to say that we do require snow. However the ice bulges are growing in easy angled burns and the turf at 600 m  was starting to freeze up. 

 I was out with Cliff who I am mentoring towards his AMI Mountaineering Instructors Certificate assessment. We went in search of good firm neve snow. 

We found a thin gully line the North East face of Creise. We were rewarded with 200 m of firm neve and some ice to practice a variety of skills on. 

Cliff bagged two new Munros Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh so a bonus to boot.