I’d been planning a trip with Chris, Paul and Martin in the Cairngorms for a winter adventure that started as a possible snow hole trip before changing to a wild camping trip due to the thawing snow and finally became a winter skills weekend as the stormy conditions came blowing in!
We had a great time battling our way into Coire an t-Sneachda looking at footwork and route choice whilst being blown about fiercely by the wind. It took some time before we managed to do some ice axe arrests as well as movement on steeper snow slopes. The day proved a success and the walk out was just as wild as the walk in had been though a little bit cooler.
Our second day was a trip around the northern corries and we climbed up past Coire Lochain with some great views of the cliffs and iced over lochans before meeting some more strong winds. After donning the crampons behind a large boulder we were soon climbing up to the plateau having discussed whether to continue up or not over a windy cup of tea. It was good to look at crampon techniques as we scaled the steeper snow slopes to reach the summit of Cairn Lochan where it was surprisingly much less windy though the cloud came in and visibility was not great anymore. As we skirted round the vent we looked deep into the snowy gully and rimed up rocks whilst trying not to be blown over. It was a dramatic view and as we descended the next slopes we found some shelter for lunch with the occasional fleeting view towards the Loch A’an basin and the Shelterstone cliffs. It didn’t take to long to traverse round Coire an t-Sneachda and we met several groups of climbers topping out along the way. The wind was suddenly back as we made our way to point 1141 where we decided to descend rather than have a blowy climb up Cairngorm. It was a good decision as we went through some fierce gusts before reaching some relative shelter in Coire Cas on our way back to the ski centre and some hot drinks.
Not quite what we had planned and each days plans changed regularly making it for some genuine Scottish winter days in the hills. Thanks guys!