Winter Weekend #2 15-17 March 2024

The second winter weekend trip of the season was based in Aviemore and involved a group of seventeen club members. Eight members were able to travel on Thursday to gain an extra day on the hill and the remainder arrived in Aviemore on Friday afternoon or evening. Following the recent pattern, the forecast was unsettled but thankfully trending to give a better day on Saturday with snow on Friday and the temperature warming up on Sunday.

Derek W, Ewart P, Ed H, Max P, Martin P, Alex D, Kate A and Rose M had all arrived early and on Friday after considering conditions decided to head up Jacob's Ladder in Coire an t-Sneachda. A team of eight in one mad dash up the gully. Tremendous! There was only a small, previously broken cornice at the top which was easily passed although the rope was deployed for greater comfort.

The walk down in a heavy, blowing snow and limited visibility was another enchanting element of the first introduction to winter mountaineering for several members of the group.

Neil D had also set off on Thursday but had stopped off enroute to tackle a couple of Munros. Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich had their share of snow and cloud but toward the end of the day the sun eventually made an appearance.

Friday evening and everyone arrived in Aviemore. Twelve of us were in rooms in the hostel, three in the dormitory and two in the Premier Inn. Ewart donned his chef's whites and took over the hostel kitchen to make a casserole. Several of us headed to Macduis to rekindle our acquaintance with the local hostelry and its fare. A good evening was had and plans for the morning were resolved.

Dave M with Max, Alex, Charley and Kate went for a wander around Cairn Lochan and up to Cairngorm summit. The weather was perfect and gave everyone the opportunity to see the local area and appreciate the changes to the conditions after the previous day.

Steve M, Neil, Ed and Sam K had set another Munro in their sights and made a prompt start for the pleasant walk across to Ben Macdui. The weather conditions were ideal, making the navigation relatively simple.

Paul M had decided to have a solo day walking in the Cairngorm area to enjoy the views and try not to get lost or overdo the exercise. Nathan and Amy, who had called in to Aviemore as part of a bigger Scottish trip, had a more leisurely day and walked a local Munro where crampons were not required.

Ewart, Derek, Martin and Rose had hatched a plan to climb Fiacaill Rib, finish up the ridge to the Coire rim and descend via point 1141. The plan worked out and in the conditions of the day the Rib was possibly the only route worth going for.

The amount of time taken to complete the climb and the full route was more than estimated and almost resulted in the four missing out on the table reservation time at the Indian Restaurant in town. Windswept and with spindrift reddened faces they were all sitting at the table just in time to order with everyone else.

Sunday was a quieter day with some heading home by train and others having a leisurely stroll around Loch Morlich before driving home. Neil headed south to knock off another Munro from his list. Steve too made tracks for Schiehallion. Sam and Charley went for a walk from the lower Ski Centre car park to Sron a Cha-no. The temperature had increased overnight and a significant amount of snow had already disappeared.

Dave, Elise and Alex headed back toward Sneachda to scramble up the Fiacaill Ridge and route back to the Ski Centre via point 1141 before dropping off hire kit at Ellis Brigham and driving home.

Once again the Winter Weekend delivered at every level. We were very fortunate with conditions and although limited in what routes were available, we all managed to achieve several climbs, walks and a curry dinner. Thanks again to everyone for coming along, helping out and for making the most out of what our club has to offer. Next winter season looks like it could be another busy one too. We're looking forward to it!

Dave M

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One Comment

  1. Yet another great report Dave. The winter weekend always seem to deliver! Great stuff!

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