Monday, 8 February 2016

Just Doing it!

Craig and Mark brought Liam and Robbie out for a bit of winter skills and fun in the hills.  With limited experience, they wanted an input on avalanche awareness and safe travel in the snow.

Given the truly pants weather, we all departed from the Coe carpark in a gale and driving rain...a proper winter day indeed.   Once in the lee of Gear Aonach, we made for the Zig Zags, a good way to the Hurt Lochan in such conditions.

About 20 minutes in, we all began to leak and the driving rain eventually won out over all kinds of 'waterproof' gear, however, once we got to 400m the temparutre dropped a bit further and the snow was not quite so soggy, although it remained saturated for the whole day.

A short fun-filled trip up the ZZs saw us don goggles and keep them on mostly all day.

On the ridge, the full effect of the wind became apparent and blew us off our feet on a number of occasions; sensible travel decisions were needed.  Plenty of chat and hasty pits, which reflected a high avalanche threat with a very weak layer 12" down, saw us take care with route choices avoiding obvious windslab.

Once we got to the lochans, it was obvious the weather was winning out, with a number of groups departing for the sanctuary of lower ground.  After a chat we headed down the well trodden path out the E side of the corrie and had a bite to eat out the swirling wind.  Thence to carpark and further sanctuary of a warm car to dry out sodden clothes.

Despite being a 'three pairs of glove' day, in some of the most miserable weather in a while, we all enjoyed ourselves with lots of learning for Liam and Robbie, most importantly when to accept the weather has won!   There were reports of avalanches out of Broad and SC Gully...a good day to avoid the approach slopes!

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