Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Intro to Winter Climbing

I made my drive North yesterday, starting my season of work with a week long Intro climbing course for Adventure Peaks.  The signs on the way up said that the road was closed from Tyndrum, which I had half expected with the forecast.  Thankfully, it was open again when I got there at 16:00.  That said, it was sticking fast on the higher sections over Rannoch Moor.

The weather forecast for today was awful.  Hurricane force winds, snow, rain and a freezing level all over the place.  Despite this, we found shelter on Gearr Aonach.  Although Karen and Rhys both go to the climbing wall, neither had climbed outside before.  They have a broad experience trekking abroad in the Alps and Himalaya, so their use of crampons was pretty good.  So we started simple today and we will build up as the week progresses.

Karen enjoying the climbing

We walked up to the Zigzags and covered the basics as we climbed the short grade I start in a couple of pitches.  There was a good covering of snow which made it all good fun.  After abseiling back down, we traversed around to Zigzags Direct III.  This gave us another couple of pitches, as well as Karen and Rhys the chance to really put into practice the skills we had been covering.  It was a big step up, but seem to really enjoy the climbing.

As we abseiled back down the Zigzags, it was a mushy mess by know (another team had also been up after us).  That said, the temp had dropped again and it was snowing at around 400m.  We made our way back to the car, satisfied that we had avoided the worst of the weather.

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