Early January Sean, Dave, Tyler and myself headed up to the North Face of Ben Nevis to learn and practise some winter skills, focusing on footwork and crampon techniques, as well as self arrest and axe skills. We looked at the winter environment and discussed concealed water hazards and avalanche terrain traps and the importance of being aware of these and other concerns when route planning in winter mountains. Also in January, I decided to learn how to snowboard! I spent a day at Glencoe Mountain with Adele, who was kind enough to show me the basics and help me try to understand my body positioning and controlling my now all important 'edges'. Also in Jan/Feb, Simon, Paul and I looked at personal mountaineering skills and belay construction. We spent the first day at Ice Factor in Kinlochleven, looking at belaying, abseiling and the basics of belay construction and principals of an anchor system. The next day we had hoped to get out and try and implement these new found skills on a mountain route, but sadly the weather gods were not up for that, so instead we spent a wet day at Polldubh Crags in Glen Nevis, looking at gear placement and more belay construction as well as anchor selection and personal abseiling safety. A productive few days! Then it was time for some more snowboarding before a the long awaited arrival of my good friend John. John and I spent a few days covering various mountaineering skills including abseiling, improving on rock climbing technique and the fundamentals of anchor and belay systems. During this time we managed to bag the SW ridge of the Douglas Boulder (III) on Ben Nevis and had a skills based day on Buachaille Etive Beag in Glencoe. A fantastic time as always!
|Dave, Sean and Tyler at the CIC Hut|
|Simon gain confidence in his prussik while Paul acts as a safety|
|Paul practising gear placement and belay construction|
|Snowboarding with Adele in Glencoe|
|SW ridge of the Douglas Boulder, thanks to Al Halewood for the photo!|
|Belay Basics with John at Ice Factor|
|John on Buachaille Etive Beag during a rare good weather window!|