Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bespoke Winter Skills day, March'14

Jim Groark lead a group of 6 mates on a bespoke Winter Skills day in the Cairngorms. Here's his tale of the day.....

On the way up !
Having collected boots, ice-axes, crampons and other gear, Lewis, Rachael, Graham, Tom, and the two Dans met me in Cafe Active for brews. We discussed what should be carried for winter days out on the hills, and I highlighted the importance MWIS and SAIS weather and avalanche reports prior to venturing out and in relation to route choice and planning. We then headed off to the Coire na Ciste car park below Cairngorm, and on dry heather, began walking into Coire Laogh Mor. It was a fabulous blue sky day, and the slopes

and car parks were absolutely full of weekend skiers, but we managed to find a sunny (and a little windswept) slope, with a safe run-out to train on. I can vouch for the safe run out, as I had to run after my snow shovel that slid into the coire!

On Cairngorm
After progressing through the various stages of walking with boots on ever hardening snow and ice, we all practiced the ‘Kama Sutra’ of ice-axe arrest, feet first, head first, in fact, every position you can imagine! An essential skill that could save your life with an ice-axe ! Crampons on, we tried various ways of ascending and descending while wearing them. After digging a snow pit, we talked about the different types of snow and it’s characteristics, and learnt about the best route finding to avoid potential avalanche hazards.

As it was such a nice day, after exercising the grey matter, we decided to exercise our legs too, and walked up to the summit of Cairngorm for some fine views, before heading back down to our cars.

If you would like us to organise a trip for you, contact us for more information.