/ Cairngorms easy grade I/II routes. Well protected.

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Kid Spatula - on 17 Jan 2013
Hello,first time to Scotland for winter climbing but with a fair history of alpine stuff at PD/PD+/AD-. Looking at the northern corries. Mainly the Fiacaill Ridge, the Runnel and possibly another route. Any recommendations? Taking a beginner along with us so ideally well protected and with good belays. Another mixed ridge would be nice, I assume PD/PD+/AD- would correlate to roughly I/II?
Milesy - on 17 Jan 2013
Goat Track Gully?
Nath93 - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: The rib just left of The Runnel has a pitch of grade III at the bottom and then I/II for the rest of it with harder variations. I enjoyed it and its a good second option if the Runnel is busy.
highclimber - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: the last time I did the runnel it was banked out with very loose powder and was all but unprotectable followed by a lovely, almost impassable, cornice!
AlH - on 17 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: Jacob's Left Edge was very good today. The Runnel can be quite stiff for II when lacking ice/neve. Pics of Jacob's Left Edge today and a video of the Rib to its left mentioned by OP here- http://alanhalewood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/coire-t-sneachda-again-and-what-great.html
blackreaver - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: My first winter lead was Jacob's Edge. It was pretty easy, however as it was covered in powder I couldn't find much gear. I would recommend it.

BR
pak.pako - on 18 Jan 2013
Kid Spatula - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:

Cheers all, suggestions much appreciated. I've done Hidden Chimney guided before and it was easyish in comparison to for instance the summit tower of the Nadelhorn. Looked well protected as well. If the Runnel is in good nick the chimney looks okay. Hows about Red Gully?
AlH - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: Red is good under ice but that end of the crags are dangerously loose under powder/during a thaw. Rock fall is common and it should really be avoided without a good buildup.
Kid Spatula - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula

Thanks Alan. Again my much appreciated. Looks like start of Feb we are heading up there.

As an alternative, Ledge Route on the Ben looks long bit with short technical bits so most of it is moving together terrain. SNCL also looks within reach of Aviemore just in case. Any other good ridges nearby?
colin fagan - on 18 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: Beinn a Chaorainn east ridge is a great wee
day out.
Julie Black - on 21 Jan 2013
Ledge route is an EXCELLENT day out, and low in the grade I thought (although the grade will be conditions dependent). We moved together for all of it, as the technical sections are literally a few moves each. Be careful on the approach though: it can be quite dangerous in soft snow conditions. Once on the route no cornices or anything like that to worry about, just consistently good and straight-forward climbing/scrambling all the way.

Faical ridge is another great day out, much shorter overall and with only one technical section (but it's a good one!). I think Faicall is reasonably safe in most conditions (just avoid the 'escape' route to the right if it's under snow! no reason to use this anyway as the ridge is so good).

Whatever you do, enjoy it!
Kid Spatula - on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:

last question honest. What are the safer routes under dodgy snow? Obviously Fiacaill ridge, how's about Jacobs Edge? Any other easy routes doable?
Cameron94 on 21 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: I did Jacobs left edge recently and it was a cracking grade II on the day, something to be weary of is the avalanche danger on the crag apron. Could be worth traversing in from higher ground on the left rather than going straight to the bottom of your route.
george mc - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Cameron94:
> (In reply to Kid Spatula) I did Jacobs left edge recently and it was a cracking grade II on the day, something to be weary of is the avalanche danger on the crag apron. Could be worth traversing in from higher ground on the left rather than going straight to the bottom of your route.

Even traversing in from the left will still involve you ascending steep ground of a similar aspect. Also in the top two thirds of the route you end up climbing steep open snow slopes which can collect drifting snow. Given the recent forecast and observations I'd steer well clear of this area until things settle down.

Sometimes the mountains don't take prisoners. The route won't go away. Come back some other time and climb it when the slopes below and on the climb aren't so much of a minefield.
Kid Spatula - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:

Yeah wouldn't go anywhere near a snowfield at the mo!
CurlyStevo - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:
"Yeah wouldn't go anywhere near a snowfield at the mo!"
the northern corries face mostly NNW so are not a great choice at the moment. That said I personally wouldn't rule out all snowfields, from the forecast you can see aspects S SE and E are likely to be fairly stable (although still worth checking).

http://www.sais.gov.uk/page_northern%20cairngorms.asp

Personally Id be looking to climb on the west coast and looking to climb on an Easterly aspect. Gullies may be OK on this aspect weds / thurs as they are looking like they are getting a good scouring today! I'd probably still opt for a more ridgey route given the likely conditions. Cornices may still be unstable though as we haven't had much freeze thaw too.

http://www.mwis.org.uk/hihetvkpe/WH.PDF

Ledge route is likely a good choice weds/thurs as it starts up number 5 gully and that will be getting scoured today to make it safer. Also the rest of the route will be getting scoured today so likely to be on firm snow!
george mc - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Mate this advice is way off mark and potentially dangerous. Have you checked the recent SAIS report for Glen Coe? The issue facing climbers in the area is the highly localised and unstable snow conditions on SW, NE and E aspects above 900m. NW and N aspects are very unstable above 900m.

Lochaber is not much better. I'd suggest reading the detail contained in the reports and you'll find why climbers are facing such treacherous conditions.
CurlyStevo - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to george mc:
Yes I read the reports and the forecasts.

Last time I climbed ledge route was in quite similar conditions to this and after considerable avalanche conditions on Easterly aspect (proper considerable not localised areas) a few days before but a strong E / SE wind had scoured out number 5 gully. I seem to remember getting a slating on here before I set out too, but met a rather well known Scottish guide in the gully which also deemed it safe enough for accessing ledge route with clients.

Personally I don't think the bottom of number five is likely to be that dodgy tomorrow given today's avalanche forecast and weather. The strong Easterly winds today will have scoured the gully and if it was going to avalanche it would be more likely today than tomorrow given the calmer dry and cold conditions forecast.

Ofcourse I think everyone involved in Winter Mountaineering should be responsible for their own choices and if the conditions on the day deem something unsuitable it shouldn't be climbed. IMO when you have a forecast of moderate risk with localised considerable risk for the aspects you are looking a climbing it's worth going out and sticking your nose in it and turning back if you need to.

In any case my advice was for tomorrow not today, shall we wait until the new report comes out today before passing judgement?
CurlyStevo - on 22 Jan 2013
In reply to george mc:
OK fair enough looks like a lot more snow fell on the west than forecast and the 60 mph winds never turned up, so yeah the avalanche risk is likely to be a bit higher than I anticipated from the forecasts.

In any case I'm off to N wales ice climbing :)

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