I have just returned from eight days of winter walking and mountaineering in the Cairngorm national park. I spent two days introducing a friend to the winter environment, using and ice axe and putting on crampons on your boots. I have spent the last four winter seasons mountaineering and climbing in Scotland and the alps.
With a spell of high pressure and northerly winds it appeared that we had got lucky with the weather.
I purposely made a slow and detailed start to my two days with Sean. Taking time to demonstrate how to put crampons on and practicing ice axe usage. Sean did very well and we got plenty of mileage in our crampons on our journey to the edge of the Cairngorm plateau at 1215 metres (cairn Lochan).
The next five days i spent at Glenmore Lodge, just outside Aviemore in the Cairngorm national park.
I wanted to use the time refreshing my winter mountaineering skills. I have been to the national outdoor centre in the past learning about avalanche avoidance, ice climbing and attending the AMI open day (Association of Mountain Instructors).
My winter mountaineering course involved:
- Re-visiting core winter movement skills using axe and crampons in ascent and descent.
- Movement over grade I/II winter snow and ‘scrambling’ type terrain.
- Basic rope work and belaying using the rope alone as well as with a sling and krab,
- Constructing and using snow anchors (such as buried axe, snow bollard and Deadman)
- Selecting and using natural rock anchors
- Abseiling using snow anchors
- Avalanche awareness and risk assessment and it’s implications for safe route choice.
- Winter navigation
What a great way to update your winter skills after ten months of limited snow activity.
Professional and experienced instructors refreshing/teaching you about mountaineering, a mix of mountainous terrain, and superb accommodation and catering.
Winter can be a harsh environment to spend time outdoors. With the right skills and experience you can have some wonderful days though. Although in the Peak District we do not get a winter season to rival Scotlands, I enjoy learning and gaining experience which i can relate back to my clients in the Peak District, Snowdonia and Lake district.
Why not hire me for a day or weekend as a walking guide at Your Private Guide or give me a call on 07792008862.