Day 1 Winter skills

Today I was out with David on the first day of a 2 day winter skills course.  With not the best weather forecast with high winds and snow and with a ‘High’ avalanche forecast for northerly aspects I decided to go into Glen Nevis and onto the southern slopes of Aonach Beag.

As we made our way in we saw a party of 4 making their way up to the first summit of the Ring of Steal, up a northerly slope.  Followed quickly by the rescue helicopter who hovered and circled round the area, no idea if they were linked, but we hoped for the best.

On our way up there was about 6 inches of fresh snow to low levels with a lot of windslab higher up on top of the old frozen crust.  We talked about route choice and adapting plans depending on the conditions on the hill before we started to get  to the older snow pack higher up.  We made it to about 700m and went through explaining hasty pits, testing for the stability of the snow and we didn’t like what we found.  So the decision was made to make our way back down and to cover the remainder of the day at lower levels looking at ice axe arrests in various different positions, which David picked up well.

On Ben Nevis as well today Craig was out with Lee and his 3 friends making their way up the Pony track but had to make their high point at the Red Burn, a good effort in the hard conditions.


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