Steve Pardoe's uk.rec.climbing Trip Report Archive Pages

Sandy Saunders's Reports

Edition of 20/2/2007


----- Original Message -----
From: "sandy saunders"
Newsgroups: uk.rec.climbing
Sent: 28 January 2007 17:42M
Subject: Scottish Winter Mountaineering

Posted back end of Nov last year, seeking advice on a Winter Mountaineering course I was contemplating doing with Jagged Globe. Wasn't familiar with the company's suggested climbs, so I sought recommendations. Anyway, took onboard the advice, booked, and completed the course last week. Fantastic week, with plenty of snow and, what I thought as a beginner, excellent climbing.

Started on day 1 with refreshing winter skills in the Buachaille Etive Mor area, covering iceaxe arrest, crampon use and rope work on steep snow slopes. Very good day, with stunning view from the top of the gully we ascended.

Day 2 we climbed Dorsal ArÍte on the right-side of Broad Gully below Stob Coire nan Lochan. Weather pretty bleak, but the snow was reasonable with some compact frozen areas. Long walk in from Glen Coe, and what seemed an even longer walk out after descending Broad Gully.

Day 3 was a ride in the Nevis Ski Range gondola and chair lift, followed by about 40 minute walk to our climbing area on Aonach Mor. Again, in the cloud and a little windy with fine snow falling. However, once we abseiled down to the start, we escaped the wind. Another good climb, which was rewarded with some fantastic evening views on the way down after the clouds rose. And, thanks to Ed Chard, our instructor for the day, a very nice 'gate' through the cornice for our exit!

Day 4 was a real challenge .... and a 9 hour outing! Drove up to the parking area, passing Nevis Ski area, and walked in to near the CIC hut. Turned up towards Number 3 Gully, and slowly made our way up the snow. Had a drink and bite to eat, then on gear and continued up to the buttress on the left of the gully. Great climb, although long and a difficult, with a tricky rock step close to the top. Late topping out, 4:15pm. so we had a rather dark and late walk back to the transport. Good recommendation to carry head torches!

Day 5, our final day, was the Stob Coire nan Lochan horseshoe. Lot of snow-melt overnight, so the scramble up the zigzag route at the start was rather wet. Good ridge walk to the base, then we reached the snow again for the final ridge to the summit. Not as technical as previous outings, but still an exciting summit. Clouds again cleared on the way down providing more stunning views.

So, over the week we worked up to Scottish Grade II, then Grade II/III on Aonach Mor, followed by Grade III from No 3 Gully Ben Nevis, finishing with the Stob Coire nan Lochan horseshoe.

Ironic really, as it was only last September that I plucked up courage to cross Sharp Edge to Blencathra in the Lake District!

Thanks to all who provided advice.

A selection of pretty 'snowy' mountain photos in a slideshow at the web address below.

--
Sandy Saunders @ www.thewalkzone.co.uk

'Mountains or Mole Hills .....
summiting still brings the same excitement'


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