Friday, 28 January 2011

British Mountain Guides Winter Training

Yesterday was the last day of the British Mountain Guides winter training and after a particularly miserable day in the Northern Coires on Tuesday I think we’re all hoping for better weather for the assessment! The 5 days of training started off on Sunday up at Aonach Mor where we a quick look at teaching basic winter skills before moving on to short roping techniques.  Monday was a long day looking at guiding techniques to move quickly over easy mountaineering ground in Stob Coire nan Lochan, finishing off with some night navigation over Bidean nam Bian and down the Lairig Eilde.  

Coire an T-Sneachda on Tuesday was probably one of the wettest and coldest days I’ve had out on the hills in a while. The aim of the day was to look at guiding on harder mixed lines but due to conditions and some very black buttresses we ended up climbing a very wet Invernookie and Fiacaill Couloir.  Still we got what we needed from the day and had some very enjoyable climbing on Invernookie which was is good icy condition.

With a slightly improved forecast for Wednesday we went up to Ben Nevis to put all the guiding techniques together on Tower Ridge and finished off coming down Ledge Route. Conditions up high on the Ben look good with Tower ridge covered in bomber neve. We saw teams on Hadrian’s Wall, Point Five and Zero Gully which all looked good.

We finished off the week yesterday with Mark Diggins from the SAIS with a very informative presentation on Scottish specific avalanche issues and forecasting before heading up to Aonach Mor to look at the current snow and chat through a few topics. The snow in Lochaber was mostly very stable yesterday which has been great for safe travel in the mountains but didn’t lead to the most interesting snow profile to have a look at.  With it been so wet except for yesterday the camera stayed at home so no pics of conditions on the crags I'm afraid.

I’m over in the Cairngorms now and plan to be out climbing here and in the Northwest all next week so I’ll try and get some condition reports up a bit more regularly and remember the camera!

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