This week saw the second of the winter skills courses being run for the SYHA this season. There was plenty snow with great conditions, so the course ran from Torridon. Over the three days we covered a huge variety of skills and put them to the test on some of the spectacular Torridon mountains.
Day 1 we headed up Beinn Damh and on the way looked at avalanche avoidance, did some self arresting and introduced the use of crampons and ice axes to reach the summit. The rain started on our descent, but we were rewarded for our efforts with some delicious home made lemon drizzle cake on return to the Hostel – thanks Em!
Day 2 was extremely mild, so the walk in to Coire nan Laogh was a warm one! We zigzagged our way up snow slopes, passing some old avalanche debris, to reach the summit of Tom na Gruagaich. The conditions were icy on the summit plateau, so we stuck our crampons on to make movement a lot easier. It was a complete pea souper all day, which allowed for excellent navigation practice.
Day 3 we decided to go for a bigger day to put into practice all the skills learned and headed up the West ridge of Liathach to the summit of Mullach an Rathain. The snow had had quite a fright due to the mild temperatures and over night rain, but the final push to the summit definitely required the use of crampons and ice axes. The cloud lifted off the summit as we ascended, rewarding us with fabulous views over the surrounding mountains and out to sea.
A wonderful few days spent in the winter Torridon mountains and we pretty much had the place to ourselves, we only saw 5 people the whole time! Thanks to Claire, Debbie, Jocelyn and Jeffrey for their wonderful enthusiasm, humour and company. Haste ye back!
blog by Kirsty Chuchla
more photos in the nineonesix-guiding gallery