Winter Mountaineering Course - Scotland


ROCK CLIMBING - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 to 4 days),
SNOWDONIA (3 to 5 days)

NAVIGATION Courses - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 or 2 days)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Aonach Mor - Roaring Fourties

Today was to be a shorter day so we took the early uplift on the Aonach Mor Gondola. Weather's been cold and the avalanche forecast is fair.
The carpark was packed at 7.30 and we were worried... until we saw some familiar faces and SARDA dogs - it was a host of Mountain Rescue Teams out training with the dogs.  Al, an instructor I know from Glenmore Lodge, jumped into our cabin and we caught up on gossip.
We took the 4-chair lift onward and walked up to the top with 2 other pairs. The cornice is big enought into the decent gully to make an abseil off a snow bollard a wise move.

We enjoyed dropping down Easy Gully (grade I) in the soft snow and headed off to Roaring Fourties IV,4 140m. There's snow covering most features so be ready to do some digging for gear, and the resulting hot-aches that this can bring.

The first pitch was open, with thin ice hidden under the snow. Pitch 2 could also do with a bit more ice, and might be more straight forward later in the season, I got an early short screw in and was soon seeking another placement before committing into the steep corner when I found a wire and screw gate, looks like sombody else had a problem here and bailed out but I silently thanked them, clipped it and moved on up. It isn't a one-move mission and the interest continues through pitch 2 into the 3rd pitch. A great route but not a soft touch, maybe some more ice will ease the difficulties?

We got to the top just as the sun came out with some fantastic light and silhouettes, and bumped into a team from Deep-Cut Chimney yesterday.

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