/ Ski approach for Scottish winter climbs
I've heard lot's of people talk about the long walk-ins for Scottish climbs, but never heard any mention of people skiing the approaches. Just wondered if there was a specific reason(s) this wouldn't work.
The standard approach to the Ben is up a path from the north face car park - skis wouldn't be any advantage. Could be a fun way to get back down No.4 or no. 5 gully after a climb though!
Same in Glencoe - steep stepped path. I've seen people approaching routes in the Cairngorms on ski though, depends a lot on the snow conditions.
Logistics... you then have to climb with skis on your back, and ski boots on your feet. Or after your climb you have to come back to where you geared up.
Not always insuperable problems, but very often awkward ones that make it more trouble than it's worth.
Also, for half the typical Scottish winter on e.g. the Ben, especially late on (like from now till May), the snow/ ice is fantastic on the route but it only starts at about CIC Hut level. So you'd be carrying ski kit + climbing kit up to the CIC, gearing up with your skis, skinning up to the start of the climb, climbing, returning to your skis, skiing down to the CIC, de-gearing, walking out. That's a lot of faff for five/ten minutes on the planks.
I recall the Yearsley/Bass team skied into Foinaven for a new line a few years ago with great success.
Cycling up Glen Einich and skiing up Braeriach is a good way of approaching the climbs. Gear up at the top of the crag means that the only disadvantage is climbing in ski boots. Not a huge problem for most of the routes thereabouts.
I have skied into the loch Avon climbs several times; in certain conditions it Is very efficient. Leave the kit at the top of the cliff, descend down an easy gully and pick up at the top.
old timer! ;-)
Did Royal Pardon last weekend and spent the walk in wishing I'd taken my skis.
Spent the walk out glad I never had them in a total white out, mind.
Neither Malcolm and I are good skiers, and we ended up skinning up the final steep approach to Lord Reay's Seat .... and skinning downhill from it as well (shows how scared we were of the skiing and how pants we were). We used alpine touring skis with our normal winter boots.
I think there are few places in scotland where one could guarantee that skis would be an advantage, but in my view its always worth considering and maybe thinking a but outside the box.
Snow shoes though..... now there's another interesting thread...