Fiacaill Ridge (Grade II), Cairngorm
A heavy dump of snow across the Highlands to coincide with the start of my month holiday….brilliant in some ways, but if only it had been a few days earlier!
For the time of year, it is heavy snow. Knowing that nearly every route within my grade in Glencoe would be a bad choice, I headed east to the Cairngorms to a well known "powder-day" route - Fiacaill Ridge.
A lone mountaineer making his way over the Cairngorm plateau
As I reached the start of the climb the wind started, and I was treated to the most spectacular displays of spindrift tornados and icy Brocken Spectres I'd ever seen. Ski-goggles out! I was grateful for them, otherwise seeing anything would have been a nightmare….
There's a couple of awkward moves on Fiacaill Ridge, tight chimneys which were a bit stiff for the grade under the amount of powder I was dealing with. Every axe placement had to be thoroughly searched for and cleared of loose snow. All the more fun!
A bold skier peering over the edge of Coire an't Sneachda
The walk across the plateau towards Cairngorm was unusually spectacular, and a sheer dream from the perspective of someone who is a photographer before a climber. Spindrift veils and bright sunshine, and occasional cross-country skiers battling their way through the snow.
That's 3 winter climbs for me already, and it's only mid November. The season is off to a good start!