Sunday, 10 March 2013

Windy, Winter Weekend

Yesterday and today I was taking Jamie out on some Winter days in preparation for his expedition to Mera Peak (6,476m) in Nepal. Whilst the Scottish mountains don't have anything like the stature of the Himalaya, they can certainly offer very challenging conditions, as we found out. We started on Ben Nevis yesterday at the Youth Hostel and after a steady start we had a quick break at the Red Burn and then headed onto the Zig Zags. The forecast of 60 mph gusts didn't seem too troublesome lower down but once up at about the 4th Zig Zag, we were blasted by waves of spindrift and strong gusts! We cramponed up and headed onto the plateau which was pretty full on. Visibility came and went, we braced ourselves against the wind and were battered by spindrift- a proper Himalayan feel to the day for Jamie. We headed down the Red Burn to keep on the snow as long as possible and give Jamie as much time using crampons as possible.
Davie was also working for me on the hill with Agata and Jon and also made a successful ascent. A sterling effort by everyone considering the conditions.

First stop at the Red Burn

Jon and Agata on the summit- photo by Davie Scott

A rimed summit trig point- photo by Davie Scott

Jamie on the summit

 Today, we decided on a slightly easier day and headed up Mullach nan Coirean in the Mamores to add to Jamie's Munro count. Some great views over to the Ben and South to Glencoe were had in splendid sunshine and clear skies. As we started to leave the summit the wind started to pick up again and hasty departure from the top saw us in a more sheltered spot. We looked at some step cutting which was actually a useful technique to use today due to the relatively small but bullet hard patches of snow and ice. As we finished the day a fairly heavy flurry of snow came blowing in from the East definitely adding to the Four-seasons-in-a-day feeling! A great weekend and good luck to Jamie on his trip to Nepal!

A smashing sunny morning
On to the snow

Enjoying the views