Sometimes a wee trip to the Cairngorms is worthwhile. While the rain fell heavily on Lochaber this morning we drove over to the Northern Coires for some winter cragging on the Mess of Pottage. I am hanging out with the BMG Winter Training Course this week and it was great to see the trainee guides in action. Having been qualified for 13 years now I want to check that what I do now and the things I think about are in line with what other guides do and think. So following the BMG training course is a great way to do this and I get to be guided up a lot of fun routes as well!
Tim Neill was training Mike Thomas in lots of things to do with guiding on winter climbs. Everything from the car to the crag, where to gear up and how to approach the first set of anchors to keeping the ropes twist free and belaying in the right places. It all seemed to go very well and we climbed The Message, Honey Pot and Pot of Gold in time for a cup of tea at the cafe before it closed.
It was a busy crag and for good reason. The climbing was superb with firm snow on the ledges and clean cracks for hooks and protection. In fact it seems like this is where all the sinker hooks come from, there are so many of them to go for. Mike was pulling some great shapes and we had a lot of fun. Tomorrow might not be so much fun in terms of the weather. We have a thaw at all levels with rain forecast for a few hours during the day with some strong winds as well. Get out the rubber gloves, endure a wet day and remind yourself that when it freezes again afterwards we will not have to wade through deep snow on the west coast!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.