A Distinct Lack of Winter

Over the last two days, I assisted on a winter skills course for an amazing group of amputees.

Getting to grips with winter skills in difficult conditions

We returned to Buachaille Etive Beag to gain Stob Raineach and go through crampons and ice axe skills, but gale force winds and rain prevented us from fulfilling all aspects. The group got to don crampons and wield their ice axes, though, so were happy.

Yesterday, even milder temperatures forced us to abandon any hope of finding accessible snow, so we took in the shapely local hill of the Pap of Glencoe (Sgorr na Ciche). The group did very well and in descent we got the rope out to protect some unpleasant rock steps and grooves. I enjoyed setting up the anchors and scampering up and down to help the group.

Getting the hell out of there!

The highlight of the two days for me though, was the immense sense of camaraderie between the group, who had been brought together by difficult life circumstances. A couple of standout quotes were: ‘This is surprisingly enjoyable’ (battling the wind and rain) and ‘I think I’ve lost a leg’ (on post-holing in the snow).

I look forward to seeing the group on their next big adventure at the end of the month.

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