Topical stuff

20th February 2010

(Above) The camera only ever comes out when the sun shines!

(Above) The Post Face and Pinnacle Buttress – in full winter conditions.
(Above) The ice pitch in Centre Post. A team abseiled off the route from below the ice pitch today because they couldn’t get any ice tool placements in the ice. Snow surface temperatures in the shade are really low at the moment – minus12 degrees C. (during the afternoon!) – that’s about the temperature of ice cubes that come out of your freezer and you know how brittle and hard they can be.
(Above) South aspects. Dramatic differences in temperature between shaded and sun-exposed slopes. Quite a lot of loose snow slides as warm sunshine weakens surface layers with triggering by lumps of cornice that fall off.
Anyone fancying a ski-tour on our patch should do it soon, the conditions we have at the moment just can’t last. High level travel is outstandingly good with beautiful long descents.
If you’re planning on ‘doing the round’, a good uphill trail has been made up Sron a Ghoire (clockwise tour) and also on the Carn Liath side via Na Cnapanan (anti-clockwise).
If taking the latter option then take the regular path up Coire Ardair (skinning all the way from the car park) until the first large stand of dwarf birch ends (there’s a definite vegetation change). The trail departs on the right at that point and switchbacks its way, at a good angle, to the col between Na Cnapanan and Carn Liath: it’s a lot better that carrying your skis up through gnarly old heather. Preferred route is the anti-clockwise one as you get a glorious descent off Sron a Ghoire to finish with reasonable chances of skiing all the way to Aberarder – though a bit heathery low down. Clockwise route means skiing down off Carn Liath (also excellent) but with ski portage down to Aberarder as the heather becomes impossible quite soon after. Either way, you’ll have a brilliant time.

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