Kevin Rutherford MIC

Hill and climbing conditions for the Scottish Highlands.

Winter Courses - Winter Skills, Winter Mountaineering, Winter Climbing & Norway Ice based in Rjukan

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Hybrid

Gary and I took advantage of a day off and some cracking weather on Cairngorm yesterday.
No wind!
We climbed The Hybrid on Mess of Pottage which gave reasonably sustained climbing finishing up the last pitch of The Message. The ledges are holding lots of unconsolidated snow which calls for lots of balancy moves and cleaning to get down to the older stuff.
We bumped into Mark Chadwick who had been over to Hells Lum and climbed the Chancer. Mark said Hells Lum was holding ice with a team on Salamander as well. Maybe Sticil Face or Scorpian could be in?

Monday, 26 January 2009

Ski time...

Skiing at the Lecht this morning. A very quiet Monday morning with no queues...... blue skies and feeling quite warm in the sun. It was that quiet that i had a run called the buzzard which had just been groomed to myself for about 1hr. Good views towards Lochnagar and Cairngorm.
Over the weekend i worked for Glenmore Lodge on a WML refresher. Saturday was spent in a very busy Coire tSneachda. Lots of climbing parties taking advantage of the good conditions and weather. A change in wind direction on Sunday brought the wild n windy conditions back.Lots of snow falling and being blown about, making hill conditions full on especially in the corries.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Another wild one!

Campbell and I headed into the Fiacall Couloir area today and climbed Burning and Looting V/6, which had an entertaining first pitch. Conditions for January are great with a good depth of snow in the corries and more forecast. Not many climbers about. The buttresses are hoared up, turf well frozen and apart from the hotaches and strongish South Westerly wind on the walk in..... a great day.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Snowy, wild n windy

Overnight snow has given the hill a good covering
with any hollows/lee slopes well filled. The gullies
looked tricky with careful route choice a must
especially on exits. Most climbing parties were on
buttresses which looked good.
On the final day of a winter mountaineering
course, Coire tSneachda was our venue. After a
quick self arrest refresher we headed up under
the Mess of Pottage looking at safe travel
techniques, avalanche assessment and finally
practised our snow anchors ascending steep
ground on the left hand side of the crag.
Looks like the wintery weather is due to continue into the coming week.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Rest of the week...and today.

Its been a busy week with changeable conditions. Hill temperatures have hovered around freezing with Wednesday being the coldest -3 at 900m. Not a lot of new snow has fallen but hopefully that will change tonight and over the coming week.
Im working this weekend on a winter mountaineering course are Glenmore Lodge. We spent
today in the Ciste gully area looking at moving around on steep ground , snow anchors and basic
rope work. We just escaped off the hill before the stormy weather kicked in. There was lots of
snow being blown around, water courses and exposed turf were starting to re freeze, all good.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Winter Skills.... winter has returned!

The corries have held onto their snow conditions very well considering the weather we had over the weekend. The existing snow has shrunk slightly. The old snow was starting to refreeze this afternoon and we had some snow showers throughout the day. Gully lines in Sneachta still look complete.
I am working for Glenmore Lodge this week and today was day 1 of 5 of a winter skills course. Practising self arrest was just do able due to the icy surface so spent most of the day looking at good movement skills, cutting steps and crampon work.