Sunday, 11 February 2018

Powder hounds in the Gorms!

Managed to get a day off which coincided with sunny weather... And the snow was reported to be pretty good in the Cairngorms too. Shaw and Judith were also up winter climbing in the Northern Corries, but enough was enough I HAD to ski!

Me looking like I can ski (for once haha)!
Out of the blue Nico messaged me to remind me that he was also heading to the Cairngorms to meet Des to attend the Avalanche Geeks level 1 avalanche course which I'd done a couple of years ago (excellent course I really recommend)...

Des being chased dropping to the Ciste - Scotland rocks
So a date was set and I dutily turned up at the Youth Hostel to pick Des up at 8am as planned... I walked into the dining room saw Des, sat down opposite him and he slowly looked up, into my eyes (blearily), nodded his head and said 'so its 8am I guess, I'm not ready'! Brilliant!

Okay lets blow the piste shizzle

On Cairngorm top!
Woop, woop we headed up the hill and skied on piste for the morning, with a plan to tour later. The pistes were pretty good, and its the first time I've ever been that the West Wall and White Lady were open! The White Lady was fantastic, and going slightly outbound we found some great snow in no. 1 gully, dropping into the Ciste.. brilliant fun.

varied snow... but great

watch that gully boys!
Even though it was a blast we had agreed to get off piste on a wee tour so at about 2pm (I think) we skinned up to Cairngorm where Des did a headstand (its his yoga thing... and well why not, I wish I could do one!).

Des and frozen beard climber man!
It was touch and go with time (enough day light) but we agreed to ski around the tops of the Northern Corries, planning to drop into Lurchers gully for a final descent as we had heard it was holding good snow.

Lurchers - flat light but excellent snow
So we skied/skinned around and it was really nice and atmospheric. Lots, maybe 8 teams of climbers were all topping out of Sneachda and Lochain and it was fun to quickly zip past on planks, looking for but not spotting Shaw and Judith.

The wee walk out!
The snow was very varied, from hard frozen, soft, hard pack, crusty, and in fact the last little descent to gain Lurchers had the worst snow I'd ever skied (tried to ski!).. But Lurchers had dreamy snow and as the light left (well flat light) it was a lovely ski down before all to quickly contouring across aiming back towards the ski centre.. A fantastic day in the Highlands.

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