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, 7 March 2010

Winter Skills Day 3 - Aonach Mor

An early start to catch the early gondola with the chairlift staff. Ian was disapointed that there was to be no early morning cafe stop today but we also caught the 4-seat chairlift, which surprisingly stopped, leaving us sitting there tantilizingly close to the drop-off point. We were soon walking up with the early ice climbers.

Conditions today were very serious on the top as we approached our latest Munro summit - Aonach Mor 1221mtrs 4006ft, 8th highest.
Total whiteouts are very unnerving, you can see literally nothing but white, you can't see an edge or horizon and could walk off a cliff. Paul, Ian and Martin took it in turns to  navigate; walking on compass bearings and measuring distances by pacing. This is especiallt important when there are steep cliffs to either side of you. I ensured everything went well and we tried different techniquest to help in these tough condtions.

Ice formed on Paul and Martyn. The moderatelly strong winds were so cold and laden with moisture that ice formed on the wind-side of jackets etc. But we were cosy in our modern jackets and clothing.

On the way down we tried emergency winter shelters, and found some reasonably flat ice to practice step cutting wiht ice axes, a technique used if you come across a short patch of slippery ground where putting on/off crampons might not be considered.

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