Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter Sizzler

The Easter Weekend camping Meet to Roybridge coincided with excellant warm sunny weather.

Judith and I decided to go off  and see if we could bag a new Munro for Judith.  So Saturday morning saw us parked at the top of the Coirechoille track.  From there we walked up to the bothy in Lairig Leacach where we had a mid morning cuppa.

From there we walked up the ridge to the summit of Stob Ban mainly avoiding any snow that was lying. Fantastic views opened up as we ascended.

We found the ascent fairly easy and with such a great sunny day we decided to carry on and go up the end Grey Corries - Stob Choire Claurigh.  Again the ascent from the south was mainly snow free and the sheltered slopes very hot for us after a long Scottish winter! We soon reached the top and finally a fairly Alpine environment ( and associated crowds).

Judith decided that some nav practice was in order so we went off the correct ridge. The views of The Ben, Aonachs and Grey Corrie ridge were almost as impressive as Judith getting the right compass bearing.

On the descent we met a pair of keen skiers heading for the bowls at the back of the Grey Corries ridge - a long walk for 5 minutes skiing.

We meet up with everyone else at the camp site and had a socialable evening around the tents, but a lack of evening sunshine meant a contingent headed to the Stromlossit.

Sunday saw Mark, Judith, Luigi, Bob, Jane, Stuart, Juliette and Melba head to the crags at Poildubh and the area around the Alp turned into a baking oven as the day progressed - not bad for Scotland in April.

Mark climbing Tear on SW Buttress - a lovely little HS.

We all climbed a number of routes with Judith providing dog walking services to keep Malba happy.

Stuart and Juliette on the classic HS Pine Wall.

The best of the bunch was probably Resurrection - very appropriate for Easter Sunday, seen below being led by Bob with Jane belaying.

We eventaully had to call it a day after being cooked just a bit too much and running out of water.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Beinn a Bhuird Triathlon

On Sunday Ann & John finally got out for a proper ski in the SE corrie of Beinn a Bhuird. Well skiing was the objective but most of the day was spent on bike or walking. We knew this was likely but sometimes you have to do these things, especially after a disappointingly damp and cloudy squelch around Lurchers the week before.
The approach cycle wasn’t encouraging, even the most reliable lines were thin, broken or just plain missing. Still, they were on the south slopes so we kept the faith and packed in up the easy angled path on the SW shoulder. At just over 700 m we popped out of shelter into the full force of the wind, making for very slow and difficult progress with skis on the back. 

Keeping the faith

Finally, skis on..

Approaching the South Top
Skis finally went on at about 850 m. Could have made it from 50 m lower, but only by descending to reach it which felt a bit pointless. With windage and weight off the back things felt much better, and we were finally skiing, albeit on grass for some of the time. As we turned towards the S top the wind really picked up – I’ve never seen airborne spring snow before, nor appreciated how much it stings. After both being blown over we made it to within 50 m of the cairn and hid behind a large boulder to get sorted for the descent. From what we could see under the cloud, there was more snow and it ran lower in the main Gorms. It would also have been just possible to ski to the summit with lots of zig-zagging and some (h)airy cornice following - definitely not a goer in that wind.

Within the first minute of the descent we were out of the wind and spindrift and into a different day. A fantastic run down the steepest part of the upper corrie was our reward, and being greedy we skinned back up for another go at it. The question now was how far would we get as the interesting lower section in the burn is hidden from above. The snow got a bit grippy below 900 m and finally ran out at about 800m just low enough to give us some fun on a narrow ribbon next to the steepest part of the burn. All that was left was the walk back to the bikes (with windage restored), and a very fast wind-assisted cycle out. Final score was a 6 hour day out with 20 mins of skiing. Was it worth it? Definitely! Was it the last ski of the season..? Who knows, where's that Biggin book?