I just spent a fantastic weekend up at Aviemore with g2outdoor.co.uk on a Winter Skills mountaineering weekend. We met out trip leader Nick Etheridge on the Friday night for a quick beer and he was easily spotted as he was the one bedecked in Haglofs duvet jacket asking complete strangers if they were up for the winter skills weekend!!!
Anyway, what a superb leader he was and what an excellent expereince g2outdoor give you. We marched up into Coire Cas on the Saturday where we learned how to dig a snow pit in order to test for avalanche conditions. We then had a go at self-arresting with ice axes. Much fun was had sliding down the slope and stopping yourself by theb use of proper ice-axe arrest technique. It was great being able to put the ice-axe to use in a controlled condition and I now feel much more confident about deploying it if ever it was needed. A walk over Cairngorm then brought us to an area on the west side that had gathered lots of snow. here's me digging a snow pit and testing for avalanche.
As you can see there was no chance of moving the snow. If you look at my flickr set for this trip you'll see a slab of snow that did come off in a test on the east side of the mountain. Anyway. Nick measured the depth of the snow and we decided to dig a pit that would give us a metre cube of snow. Have a look to see how we got on testing this for avalanche conditions.
I had such an excellent time on this weekend I just wanted to share a flavour of it with you. I would always say that the hills are an excellent place to go for the body and the mind but this trip in the winter was incredible. I have no photos or videos of the Sunday outing due to the fact that the weather was evil beyond belief. We walked in to Coire ant Sneachda but we had to get the crampons on and get out due to the conditions.
Just to finish, I have no connections with the guys at g2outdoor but I would most readily and unreservedly recommend them to you if you felt like an exhilirating day or two developing your mountain skills out on the hills. Right, now I'm off to plan my hills for this weekend...