Monday, February 10, 2014

West Face on Aonach Mor

Today was the first day of a Scottish winter mountaineering course and I have been joined by Nina, Chris, Andy and Andy. With a high avalanche risk on North and East aspects above 900m and of course slopes threatened by steep ground above we chose the West face of Aonach Mor as our venue for the day. There is stacks and stacks of snow in the Highlands right now, more than I can remember seeing ever before! It has been snowing on and off all day and had been all night last night so avalanche avoidance was a big theme of the day. Our wind scoured aspect provided soggy snow lower down but it hardened up nicely above 800m and after a winter skills refresher we enjoyed 5 pitches of grade 1 ground looking at the fundamental differences between winter mountaineering and summer scrambling, including the use of snow anchors and rock anchors where they weren't buried! A great day out and some proper winter conditions! 

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