Winter Skills Weekend

March 8th, 2011 by pebbles

day one - ready to throw ourselves downhill...

The winter skills weekend went ahead in ther cairngorms on 5/6th March. we stayed at Cairngorm Lodge Hotel, with Adam hughes of Hughes Mountaineering booked as instructor. The weekend was so popular we had to extend it from one day to the whole weekend.

Day one was spent working on basic skills – ice axe arrests, moving in crampons – the bunny hop was suprisingly effective! – and step cutting, with plenty of comedy value as we threw ourselves downhill in various ungainly positions.

more stylish (perhaps not) braking

Day two focussed on building snow belays. I had not realised quite what hard work this would be – digging ice like a demented terrier burying a bone, by the end of sunday my arms felt as if I had been navvying.

I particularly liked the way Adam taught this section – we pitched our way up a gentle ridge, taking turns to build bucket seats and buried axe anchors, then did a multiple abseil backdown using snow bollards. I think if we had just practised on flat ground I would have wondered "hmm, but would I be happy actually using that?"

Throughout the weekend we were very lucky with the weather – in fact in the brilliant sunshine we all ended up slightly sunburned. However the springlike weather was not so good for climbing conditions – the snow had been stripped from the mixed routes, and Simon Carmen and Rob had to sack off their plans to sneak in a cheeky route at Hells Lum due to the fact it was falling down.

Thanks again to Adam for his excellent instruction, an excellent weekend all roumd and i think we all got a lot out of it.

PS I am told by my secret informer that if anyone wants a giggle they should ask paul to demonstrate his canoeing skills…

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Winter Skills Weekend”

  1. Simon C says:

    There were in fact excellent winter climbing conditions to be had, if only we'd looked in the right place!

    Thanks for organising everything 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.