Well it certainly showed that the Cairngorm snow show had begun with the amount of people and cars in Aviemore. Unfortunately i’d completely forgot it was a Saterday and slept in only to realize my mistake on the drive up to the carpark, witch was of course full and the lower carpark was even getting short of space. So once parked up and packed the queuing began, first for the bus up to the ski center, thankfully that’s where the ques ended for me as it was on with the approach skis and off towards Fiacaill Ridge. Pity that can’t be said for those skiers waiting for the train!
Now I’m no skier, in fact the last time I was on Skis was about 5 year ago, they were downhill skis and I was still hopeless. So with touring blades fitted to mountaineering boots to say I was a little ungainly would be an understatement. However even with my struggle it still seamed I was making better progress than the rest of those soles slogging it out on foot as I passed a few people on the approach to the ridge. However my late start of 11.30 (yes it was a long lay in) was not in my favour as I rounded the crest of the ridge I could see at least 4 teams pitching the ridge.
Now with Fiacall being quite wide and rather an easy grade its not a real problem for a solo climber to just nip past people, so to those who I past who were pleasant and had a chat, may you have many more great winter days and to those who just gave a grunt, well hope that infection clears up soon!
It wasn’t only Fiacaill that was busy, plenty teams on Flutted buttress, which in the conditions was a good, if not the only choice, a couple of teams abbed into “The Seam” and adjacent climbs and one team of three deciding that bashing their way up Jacobs Edge RH and up through the cornice was a good idea, not sure what their thinking was there, lets hope it didn’t drop off on them! Some good neve on Fiacaill, not sure about other climbs, plenty of powder and suspect a lot of wading in the corrie bottoms, but worth it I’m sure, just make sure you avoid the windslab, there’s a lot of it about!
Lots of great snow on the plateau and not surprisingly lots of people out ski touring. Perfect play weather for the ski’s and even some climbs, long may it continue. As for me the most terrifying part of the whole afternoon was the decent down the Fiacaill a Choire Chais ridge, I even walked the steep bit before putting the skis back on, nothing but unrelenting terror from top to bottom, give me a climb any day!
Have fun and stay safe