touring & backcountry
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CairnGorm Mountain - Sat 3rd May 2008
Posted by: Winterhighland Member at 21.47hrs on Wed 7th May 08

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Cairngorm - Coire an Sneachda - Cairngorm via Aladdin's Couloir
:: Weather Conditions
Generally fine.
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Good cover in Aladdin's, though quite narrow on the third pitch . The snow was soft and made for easy turns. The first pitch felt exposed but we were confident we could arrest a fall.

Got caught in a slide on the Cas headwall on the return to Cairngorm. The slope broke above Jungle in the first slide, as it broke away slowly he managed to traverse out of the way .....but only into the path of the second slide that I set off - sorry, Jungle. Fortunately, no injuries or lost gear.
:: Skiers/Riders
Jungle, 12point

CairnGorm Mountain - Mon 5th May 2008
Posted by: Winterhighland Member at 10.22hrs on Tue 6th May 08

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Cairngorm - Coire Raibeirt - bottom of Coire Domhain - Feith Buide - East side of Ben Macdui North Top. Party split - some to summit of Ben Macdui. Hustler and Telemarker had a breif excursion down into Grabh Uisge Mhor.
Return via North Top, and direct to Lip of Corie an -Sneachda - via Coire Domhain.
2 of party dropped into Sneachda via goat track, remaining four down Point Five Gully
:: Weather Conditions
FANTASTIC!!!! little wind, blue skies and lots SUNSHINE!
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
mixed spring snow, good on south side of cairngorm, and Corie an t-Sneachda. Bit soft in Garbh Uisge Mhor, and slow on north side of North top Macdui until speed gained.
slow plod skinning on plateau - even with cheat skins!

Highlight of the day was the Sneachda descents, great to ski the Point Five gully, a very memorable day out and and end of season
:: Skiers/Riders
Telemarker, Bridget, Hustler, Steelytail, Sue, Andy

CairnGorm Mountain - Sat 3rd May 2008
Posted by: Winterhighland Member at 11.50hrs on Mon 5th May 08

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Fiacaill Coire Cas round to upper Feith Bhuide (all on snow) and SE to slope to West of Loch Etchachan. Skied down to Loch and then North to Loch Avon. Carried to Coire Raibeirt and skied down the headwall.

:: Weather Conditions
Forecast +5 degrees at 900m with wind up to 50mph was about right. Promised rain in afternoon turned out to be sunshine despite black clouds in late morning.
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Lack of overnight frost for 4 or 5 nights meant snow surface was slow without being wet. We dug a snow pit above Loch Etchachan and we were happy with the bonding. There were surface snow slides including on Cairngorm headwall. We saw two skiers being swept off feet (skis) by slow moving surface snow slide. See photo. Cover on plateau is deep and continuous down to about 750m.
:: Skiers/Riders
Eagles Matthew Sands and Alan Sloan
:: E-Mail Contact
alansloan at btconnect dot com

CairnGorm Mountain - Wed 23rd Apr 2008
Posted by: Winterhighland Member at 09.19hrs on Thu 24th Apr 08

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
Skin up FRP & Cas Ridge. - Bivouc at Point-1141m - Traverse uper Coire Raibert to GoatTrack/Domhain Col - Over Cairn Lochan, descending to Lurcher's Gully - Traverse out to Sneachda Burn, and walk last 1km out on climbers path.
:: Weather Conditions
Plan-A was to traverse Plateau to Macdui, overnight with a well-illuminated night sky. - But high winds forced Plan-B, a bivvy after reaching plateau, and wait for less wind....but winds remained high, and forced reduction of the tour route once daylight arrived.

Skinned Cas ridge about 1am-2am by headtorch, wth broken cloud and good moon/star light. But the wind on approach to Point-1141m was severe. - Forecast was for benign conditions, suitable for night traverse...but the nearby Gorm AWS recorded 50-60mph Mean, gusting 70+mph. - Totaly wrong windspeed forecast!

Decided not to proceed across Plateau against 50-60mph winds. (wisely) Too stubborn to retreat from 500m height gained, wee opted to bivvy in lee of cairn at Point-1141m. - Hoping for wind to ease, but remained wild rets of night and most of morning.

Visibility was good mostly, and views into Sneachda from the bivvy as day dawned. - Temperature probably remained above freezing across most of mountain overnight.

At least it didn't rain. - But the severe wind was a reminder that we can rely too heavily on forecast...Always worth taking some bivvy kit as it made the overnight comfortable in a moderately exposed situation.
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Skinning conditions were generally excellent, with good wide snow cover. - Some breakable crust, with deep soft for walkers, but skis moved fairly well.

Lovely snow for ascent of Cairn Lochan from GoatTrack Col, and traverse of Cairn Lochan summit area heading to Lurchers.

About 450m of descent from Cairn Lochan into Lurchers, before traverse out to join path at Sneachda burn. - Snow not great condition. Observed 3 distinct snow conditions, from summit to Lurchers Gully.

Upper slopes: (Creme Brulee) Crust with deep soft/heavy underneath. Skiing on crust was ok, but constantly breaking crust and sinking in heavy soft, making control hard & unpredictable.

Mid slopes: (Creme Caramel) softer wet surface, deep heavy snow below. Bit easier to ski, but still hard work.

Lower slopes: (Gelato) more consistent, and by time we left Lurchers Gully it was the best surface for skiing.

This better snow type continued on exit of Lurchers, which made the linking of patches enjoyable sport. - Stayed on skis till Sneachda burn, and walked last 1km on path back to carpark.

Back in Cas Cafe by noon. - Plenty snow left for more tours, and days with less perverse winds.
:: Skiers/Riders
HTH and Craggie
:: E-Mail Contact
hjborr at btinternet dot com

CairnGorm Mountain - Tue 22nd Apr 2008
Posted by: Winterhighland Member at 21.07hrs on Tue 22nd Apr 08

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:: Tour Route(s) or Location Skied/Ridden
4000ers from Linn O Dee. Derry Cairngorm - MacDui - Cairngorm - Braeriach - Cairn Toul - Corrour - Linn O Dee
:: Weather Conditions
High cloud with hazy sunshine. Wind increased as day progressed.
:: Snow Conditions and Distrubtion
Snow crisp and fast early morning but soon softened to give great spring conditions. Large sastrugi fields on northern aspects. Snow cover more limited on south facing aspects on southern side of plateau. Great Moss and high plateaux still choked with snow.
:: Skiers/Riders
Ali
:: E-Mail Contact
alihubbard at onetel dot com

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