Saturday, 4 February 2012

Hidden Chimney, Coire an t-Sneachda

This weekend was a meet for the Lomond Mountaineering Club based at the Balgowan Cabin at Laggan, not far from Aviemore.

On saturday morning the weather did not look promising with high winds forecast so Aaron and I drove up to the Cairngorm Ski Centre car park and our fears were confirmed when the gusts of wind were shaking the car from side to side, however we decided to kit up and walk up to the coire anyway to take a look, and if anything stretch our legs and get a walk.

On the walk in visibility was pretty bad and the snow was coming down heavy, and with the high winds the feeling of the wind blown snow and ice was like sandpaper against the face but we managed to push on to the Mess of Pottage to get a look.

There was quite a lot of soft windslab developing and the risk of avalanche was worth considering, and a quick Rutschblock test indeed showed a moderately bonded new layer of snow. It did not take much effort to break the top layer loose. This considered, we judged it stable enough at this height and pushed on up Jacob's Ladder to the start of Hidden Chimney.

There was already people on the climb, and a substantial queue at the start of the first pitch up The Slant and having forgot my gore tex trousers, the wet snow and winds and totally driven the water right through to my skin legs and I was losing core heat quite quickly with the waiting about.

We decided to climb the first pitch to see if I could get some warmth in me but if anything I was getting colder so we made the decision to bail off.

A quick walk back out saw as back at the Ski Centre for some warmth and a bowl of chips.

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