Aonach Mor, winter skills

Today was the first day of 3 of Aluns’ winter skills course and a day of many firsts: first time putting crampons on, first ice axe arrest, first Munro, first time out in a blizzard, first time in a white out.

Knowing that the wind was probably going to increase through the next few days and to also save the legs I opted for the uplift of the gondola onto Aonach Mor.  We generally headed round to the Nid ridge looking at the numerous patches of windslab and indicating features of snow transportation.  We dug a few hasty pits to test the avalanche conditions, walked around in crampons and practiced ice axe arrests, all again with snow being blown in our faces.

After a bit of lunch (actually at lunch time) we made our way with our new learnt skills up the Nid ridge to the top ski lift station, discussing snow features and cornices along the way.  With time on our hands we opted to head for the summit of Aonach Mor a short distance away.  Using the navigation technique of ‘dog-legging’ around the edge of the corrie, we paced and took a few bearings to the summit at 1221m, the 8th highest peak in the UK!  On the way back down we got a few glimpses of the view of the top of the east face of Aonach Mor and out west.

A good day and not too tried by the end of it, ready for the next 2.

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