Monday, 1 March 2010

Properly Wild on Goatfell

After the snowstorms of last week the weather for Sunday looked like it would be calm and sunny so Wally and I planned a stomp up Goatfell to have a look at Stacach Gully (I/II) a little winter route close to the summit of the mountain that often holds an ice pitch. A mate soloed it last week so we were confident that we would find it in condition. The red arrow indicates the top of the gully. We climbed this last year (on a TR *blushes*) and the report is here:

Things didn't turn out as planned (of course) as the promised settled weather quickly deteriorated in to strong winds and a blizzard of graupel (hail stone like rimed up snowflakes- ow!). Getting up on to the shoulder of the mountain we cold see that the ice pitch was well banked out with deep snow and the fresh windslab prompted nervous thoughts about the snow stability. The mainland has been suffering atrocious avalanche conditions this weekend due to a deeply buried layer of surface hoar. I don't think we have this problem on Arran as it has not been as cold, but the depth and angle of the windslab made us think twice about traversing on to the slope.
Heading up to the summit the wind became too strong to stand up and we stopped short of the top and retraced out route. Yet again the climbing gear got taken for a nice walk on Arran! Will we climb anything here this winter at all?

No comments: