Cairngorms Jan 2014 Lessons learned

Cairngorms in a weekend?  Totally possible.  We left Bridgend at 4pm on Friday and arrived in the ski car park at about 1am.  Sleep for 5 hours and then up at 6am, starting the walk in at 7am.  Up the Fiacaill Ridge, back down the goat track and then a bit more crampon work on the goat track.  We also had a good look at the Goat Track Gully.  The following day we got up at 6am, were at the car park by 7am, then up the route by 12:30, in the corrie by 1pm, at the car by 2pm and home by 11pm or so.

Generally both days went really well.  The avalanche forecast was good.  The weather, while it was a bit windy was reasonable.  Conditions were good, the snow was solid and the gullies were full.  We got up there safely, did two routes and got back home in time.  We definitely could have been faster on the second route.  Which was Goat Track gully.  We did it in two 40 or so meter pitches and one short 15 meter pitch.  All things considered we could have been a lot quicker on that route, but most of that was due to my descision to trail the ropes up the slope to the bottom of the route.

On the first day we went up the Fiacaill ridge.  Joe got pretty cold on the belay.  It was quite exposed to the wind and he got rather cold.  This meant that he struggled with seconding the route.

Lessons learned:

1 – Don’t trail ropes up snow slopes.  It doesn’t work.  The ropes are to heavy and prone to getting tangled.

2 – Belay jackets aren’t optional.

Now for a few photos from the weekend.

Joe at the start of the Fiacaill Ridge:

Blurry selfie for the win:

Joe standing under Aladdins butress.

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