Thursday, 14 February 2013

Avoiding the weather...

 An atmospheric Rothiemurchus Forest on Wednesday
This week I'm working with Chris and Jon Gupta to help prepare the former for his MIC assessment. The weather, high winds and avalanche conditions have forced us stay low for the last couple of days. Wednesday was snowing heavily with gale force winds. We walked up the ski road to have a look at the snowpack and check out a bit of navigation but failed to even get to the ski area. The snowplows had given up and we had a fun battle with the elements before opting for the sensible option and returning to the valley to drink tea! The forecast for Thursday was deteriorating with the freezing level rising to over the summits and the winds increasing but we awoke to sunshine. We spent the morning on the banks of the River Spey perfecting Chris' ropework and the belay transitions from series to parallel and back. After lunch we drove up to Glenmore Lodge to try and find a steep snow bank to put everything into context. The thaw had made dramatic inroads into the previous days snow and we ended up on a steep slope of heather looking in detail at ropework. 

Tree belay
Sadly we later learned that all the helicopter activity above us today was due to a significant avalanche incident in the Chalamain Gap, just over a mile away, which unfortunately resulted in the deaths of three climbers. (Daily Record and SAIS reports)

 Chalamain Gap avalanche (picture from Scottish Avalanche Information Service)

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