Blizzard Conditions

What a morning!

Today started off very nicely with blue skies, a fresh covering of snow and lighter winds. However, by early afternoon all hell broke loose over the Northern Cairngorms.

Drifting at glen level

In light of the weather and avalanche forecasts we chose a route accordingly, incorporating some more navigation teaching at low level. The aim of the day was to make it to the 1028m spot height on the Sron a’ Cha-no and potentially Cairn Gorm itself. However, we made the call early on to abort this attempt and instead continued navigation practice in the vicinity of Stac na h’lolaire.

Before the weather broke

However, having made it back to the lower Coire Cas car park in the teeth of a gale, it then took over an hour to battle up the road to the upper one. As we walked ice formed on zip toggles and all over our kit, and at times it was almost impossible to stay upright. The conditions were so wild that we had to abandon our minibus shortly after leaving the ski area, as the wind kept whipping round the back part of the van on the icy surface.

Craig Dhu from Newtonmore

Thankfully, Glenmore Lodge came to the rescue, offering us places in their minibuses, but the experience of blizzard conditions was certainly sobering. I have never walked up a road before for a kilometre and wondered whether we would be forced back. However, it contributed to a week that has been full of mountain and leadership experience, if not the best of conditions.

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