Sunday, 11 March 2018

An Teallach

Exciting weekend as Huw was visiting, well in truth he was already up here working but had a free weekend to catch up - brilliant!

I've not seen Huw for a few years, and the last time that we winter climbed together there was a slight avalanche incident and broken ankle.... but hey who hasn't had these days out...

So we hoped to winter climb and lots of potential plans were banded around but in the end due to various boring reasons, including weather we were restricted on Saturday and opted to just go up Hayfork Gully on An Teallach - an easy day!

The coire looking great but freshly plastered maybe..
Unfortunately it didn't quite go to plan. Huw had been in this area all week instructing, and a couple of days before one of the other groups had been up it and reported great conditions, but as we entered the Coire (which is very impressive) it quickly occurred to both of us that we may have to change the plan!

The wind had shifted a lot of the snow around drastically and filled all of the gully's (and most of the faces) with fresh snow which was starting to form windslab. We both kidded ourselves that maybe things would be fine, but as soon as we got near the gully safely viewing it from a rock band we both knew without speaking - it was a no go!

plans changed
We found a safer, scoured way up and took in one of the summits as the weather deteriorated rapidly as forecast with very strong wind, low cloud and some snow. We got a view of the classic An Teallach ridge just before all upper mountain views were suspended for the day!

Finding a safer route up (wishing I'd ditched the pole sooner!)
Because of the weather we headed down, picking a ridge that Huw hadn't been on before. It was great with sheer edges, rocks, snow slopes all appearing through the murk as the visibility came and went (mainly went).

As we dropped height the views came back, but also the mildness was very evident as our crampons were balling up every other step, definitely not a day for winter climbing (well not here anyway).

Wheres the way down!
What was great about the day (as well as being out and hanging with Huw) was talking about the snow, looking at conditions, decision making, monitoring the quickly building windslab and observing how potentially dangerous snow conditions were building on 3 aspects. A really interesting day.

Huw back in the views

No comments:

Post a Comment