University of Stirling Mountaineering Club returned again this year for another couple of fun days with nineonesix-guiding in the Cairngorms. We were lucky to get a few days of snow in the run-up to USMC’s visit, providing various options for the groups. Once again Nathan White took the helm for nineonesix-guiding, well assisted by Iain Murray & Richard Cockburn.
Knowing that the forecast for the second day was suggesting what’s technically known as a ‘hoolie’, Nathan’s winter mountaineering group opted on Day One to go up by Twin Ribs from Coire an t-Sneachda onto Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda and round to explore Point 5 Gully. Not liking to the condition of the gully, the group completed the circuit of the coire and came down above the ski area. The next day, to escape the wind, Nathan’s group visited the crags at Huntly’s Cave for a great day on the rock looking at various mountaineering techniques.
Iain’s winter skills group wanted a journey on Day One before the gale force winds arrived and a circuit of the Northern Corries fitted the bill perfectly, with some winter skills tuition at several points along the way. Day Two had a focus on winter navigation, heading into the Chalamain Gap before ascending Creag a’ Chalamain and Castle Hill and then escaping back to the car park.
The third group wanted to get stuck into winter skills techniques on the first day so Richard took them into Coire an Lochain to explore a range of skills, practising navigation there and back. The group was keen to get ‘back out there’ on the second day and an ascent of Meall a’ Bhuachaille from the east via some pacing practice in and around Ryvoan kept the worst of the westerly gales at bay with lunch in Ryvoan bothy providing welcome respite from the weather.
Lots of quality discussions in groups back at USMC’s bunkhouse on topics ranging from route planning to avalanches and belaying in winter completed a very full and enjoyable two days. We look forward to seeing USMC again next winter!
blog by Richard Cockburn