Monday, 22 February 2010

Winter ML Training

Got back yesterday from a brilliant and challenging week at Glenmore Lodge on my Winter Mountain Leader Training course.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather- with 4 out of 6 days with good visibility and at times clear blue skies, and a couple of days of whiteout conditions to test the navigation properly. There has been a huge amount of snow in the Cairngorms already this winter, and while we were there several inches more fell giving hard conditions underfoot with deep snow and the potential threat of avalanches on steeper aspects, but the winds stayed light so we never had to contend with the famous Cairngorm hoolies that can blow up.

The picture above is of me abseiling into the top of a gully to check the snow conditions- under the watchful eye of course director Eric Pirie.

On the final night we dug and slept(?!) in our own snowholes on the Cairngorm Plateau above the Loch Avon basin. We stomped up and over Ben Macdui for our night navigation excercise in temperatures around -10. Cold! Thankfully it was a lot warmer in the snowholes.

Thanks to our instructors Eric Pirie and Dave Haygarth, who really were the founts of all knowledge, and to the Glenmore Lodge staff for looking after us so well and feeding us up. Also a big thanks to the other guys on the course. It was great spending time with so many experienced outdoor professionals, and the banter and warm atmosphere made it a special week.
Oh and thanks also to the mountain hare who legged it across our path on Monday! A fantastic sight!

No comments: