Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Winter Climbing in Scotland and the Lakes

Spent a week first up in Fort William, then in the Lakes.

Sunday 14th February: Despite a less than promising morning, walked up to Stob Corrie nan Lochan and climbed NC gully on old consolidated snow.  Capped the day with a trip to the Fort William mountain festival.

Monday 15th February: Took the stiff walk back up to Stob Corrie again, and found very different conditions with significant fresh snow.  Picked a ridge line, Dorsal arete, which turned out to be a good idea as we we saw an avalanche come down a nearby gully.  This gave some good climbing and then a spectacular balance along a "plank" of snow to safety!

Tuesday 16th February: Took the first Aonach Mor gondola into the sunshine above the clouds, then walked round to Golden Oldy, a long ridge climb on the West face.  The route had a bit of everything, approach through deep soft snow, some steeper mixed climbing then an alpine style ridge to end in eerie white-out conditions on the summit plateau. Unlike my last trip to this side of the hill we made the gondola back down with time to spare!  Took some pictures of these fine views from the lower section of the ridge:

Friday 19th February: After a good nights' rest in a B+B in Keswick following chips outside the Moot hall and a pint in the Dog and Gun we were off to Thirlmere for a stunning day out on Brown Cove Crags.  We tacticaly left the summit of Helvellyn for the next day, descending over Lower Man.

Saturday 20th February: Started on the other side of Helvellyn and enjoyed the solitude of the walk into Ruthwaite cove.  We had planned to climb Nethermost Gully, but closer inspection revealed avalanche debris.  Instead we continued up the deserted Nethermost Pike East ridge to reach the plateau which was plastered in powder snow, then joined the crowds on Helvellyn and descended Striding Edge to complete a great week away.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Weekend in Wales

Spent the weekend in wales, based at Plas y Brenin.

On Saturday walked up to Clogwyn y Ddysgl and climbed Sinister Gully (nothing Sinister about it today in the glorious weather).  A good route with great snow conditions in the top part.  On reaching the ridge we had superb views to Snowdon.  Descended by the Crib Goch ridge in bright sunshine, quite awkward getting off the summit and a very slippery path back to the pass, and then a trudge back down the road to the car, although kindly offered a lift for the last half mile.

After snow down to the valley overnight we gingerly drove back up to Pen y Pass and walked into the Trinity face of Snowdon which had looked so good the day before.  A much more typical winters day with a fair bit of snow blowing down the face as we climbed the Central Gully almost straight to the summit of Snowdon (no train or cafe today!).   Descended by the Pyg track which was being covered by deep fresh snow.  Back down by half two with very tired legs! Great weekend.