Monday, March 3, 2008

Windy tales from the Cairngorms.

Today was one of those if only days. We headed off into the Coire an t-sneachda, in the hope of grabbing a route or two before the worsening weather set in this afternoon. Two flaws in this early start plan, one the car couldn’t get up the hill till the plough had been up a couple of times and being first in after a bit of snow, spells- trail breaking!
Anyway we were at a very very windy stretcher box by 730 to 8. With spindrift all around and a strong wind-chill, and even stronger wind neither of us really fancied hanging around in this coire so we went in search of better conditions in Loch Avon valley.
The snow was good underfoot with a firm feel to it. The goat track area was well banked out and with good snow we were soon on the top.
At the top of Stag rocks in the Loch Avon valley, we could see the Shelter stone and Carn Etchachan looked good, but our second objective, one of the routes along the wall of diagonal gully were in the teeth of the strong Northerlies blowing over the top.

As a result the routes would disappear under a plume of spindrift. The descent looked decidedly dodgy too with a good two to three feet of windblown powder and a nice slab forming. Down the length of the gully you could see debris from stuff that looked like it had released this morning, so we opted to continue our walk and explore the plateau, and head off back via Cairn Gorm. On the way down the skiing looked good and out of the wind the sun was warm and provided us a bit of respite from a bitter wind-chill. All in all a bit of fitness gained and a bit more of a clue of conditions in the Northern Cairngorms, so a lot of positives out of the day. Lets see what the North West yields tomorrow!