/ First time in Scottish WInter, tell all.

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puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
Looking to head to Scotland in February with a friend to head out into the Mountains for some walking and climbing. We'd want to build ourselves up from ridiculously easy and see where we go from there. Costs would need to be low too otherwise MrsTheDog won't let me go :-)

Where should we go? Where should we stay? What should we start with and aim for?

I'm looking for advice but happy to accept joshing too.

One thing I really fancy having a go at is staying in a snow hole for example.
Exile - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

I wrote this a few years ago:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4451

Most of what I've learnt is in it, hope it helps.
Kevin Woods - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Hey

The usual suspects I'd say - Glen Coe, Nevis, Cairngorms. There are top quality hostels in Glen Coe, Fort William and Aviemore.

Aviemore would be great if you're driving, you'll get more reliable routes, loads of walking, seemingly good nightlife (I once went to a *packed* Bombskare gig in one of the bars in the middle of January) and you could probably get a snowhole in there too, being the Cairngorms.

As for the actual climbing I'm not so hot on details - need to start myself though I've got loads of history walking the mountains in winter + more than a few sketchy windslab gullies thrown in for good measure!
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Exile: Thank you a great read.
Kevin Woods - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Same I just read it - awesome. Need to get out this winter.......
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Kevin Woods: Thanks for your answer :-) I was thinking probably Cairngorms but wondered if I would be advised to head somewhere else.
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: With regards to protection for climbing what should I take?

I have axes, boots, crampons etc. I have Tri-cams and a 22cm Screw from an ice trip last year (more experienced friend had all we needed) also have nuts.
Dave Perry - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
Camping his how most of started off. It's pretty cheap if rather uncomfortable.

The cairngorms are very easy to get lost in in bad weather/poor visibility.
Ben Sharp - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: buy scottish winter mountains by Martin Moran

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scotlands-Winter-Mountains-Martin-Moran/dp/0715307940

ludicrously it's 2 second hand and it's still one of the best books on winter climbing ever written.
Exile - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

A set of wires, three or four hexes, a few friends, (be careful of these in icy cracks,) a few smaller pegs, four or five screws, up to ten quickdraws, (useful to take longer ones or tripled up 4ft slings,) and some long slings will get you up most things up to grade IV.

If it's a Ben style ice route take more screws, if it's a Gorms style snowed up rock route maybe take another set of wires.

Once you've done a few routes you'll get a feel for what rack to pack for which area / route type / your comfort level, but to start with I would say it's better to have too much than too little.

Expect to place less gear than in Summer on most routes.
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Dave Perry: Thanks for the heads up, do you think better to avoid Cairngorms then?
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Thanks for the heads up.
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Exile: Thank you. have all of that and more from my trad rack so doing well.
Tim Chappell - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

Exile quotes Mark Twight, and Twight is right:

It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.
Eric9Points - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

Prepare to be flexible about venues.

You have to go where the conditions are good.

Aviemore is a good base where everywhere from Glencoe to Torridon is practical for a day trip.

Ben Sharp - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
> (In reply to Dave Perry) Thanks for the heads up, do you think better to avoid Cairngorms then?

No, just make sure you can navigate first. You can encounter nav trouble anywhere you go Winter climbing, not just the gorms. They may have been brought up because the ease of access disguises the seriousness of the area. My first few times up there were in white out pretty much from the car park onwards and in pretty foul conditions, in good weather it's a different place altogether.

The avalanche book is worth looking at as well, although IIRC there's a section on it in the Moran book as well.
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Ben Sharp: Thank you.
Kevin Woods - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: If you're doing gullies at first, avalanche awareness and navigation is a lot more important than what gear to take.
Mark Collins - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

Wherever I go now, I tend to base my day trips on the Avalanche forecast, using it to avoiding dangerous slopes:
http://www.sais.gov.uk/avalanche-awareness.asp

It wasn't always like this, but probably should have been. Perhaps rather morbidly when Scottish avalanches are reported due to accidents, I like to try to reconcile the location with the forecast for piece of mind.

I find goggles essential at times.

Hope that helps, and see you at Kendal.
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Mark Collins: I'll be asking you for face to face for some advice there :-)
puppythedog on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to Kevin Woods: Indeed, thank you. I suspect the need for one ting does not make the need for another redundant.
Only a hill - on 31 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
As luck would have it, I posted a piece on my blog today about an early (although not my first) Scottish winter experience:
http://www.alexroddie.com/2013/10/the-magic-of-early-winter-in-highlands.html

Scottish winter is magic. Enjoy!
puppythedog on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to Only a hill: Thank you, I'll check it out.
Siward on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog: If you've not been to The Scottish hills before I would go to Torridon. Simply because the spectacularity index is so high (you've heard of that index, right?). If the weather's OK there is no better place to be.
Mark Collins - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to Siward: ...but sadly no Avalanche forecast as yet :-(
CurlyStevo - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
By mid feb I think west is very often best. Cairngorms being more landlocked and further from the west coast and also with a lot of high ground can tend to be less consolidated at that time of year. It also depends what you like, but I prefer neve and ice to rocky mixed, and the west is generally better for ice / neve.

I did a lot of winter camping during my first season and its not very nice. Inability of drying kit, flapping tent material preventing sleep and making breakfast at 5 am in a hoolie were the worst parts of the experince. That said it was good experience if you know what I mean.

As for where to base yourself the most logical spot is around roy bridge, easy access to the ben and aonach mor, and not too far to aviemore or glencoe. Even the NW is doable as a day trip. However the roybridge hostel doesn't do twin rooms and I'm not keen on dorms, email me nearer the time if you want some recommendations of places to stay in your chosen area.
marzi - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

2 deadmen, one for top and one for bottom of the pitch
galpinos - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

It's mainly type 2 fun, with a bit of type 1 and type 3 thrown in.
ccmm on 01 Nov 2013 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to Mark Collins:
> (In reply to Siward) ...but sadly no Avalanche forecast as yet :-(

And no build up of snow on the slopes yet either.
In reply to puppythedog: It sounds like you might find these intro to winter articles useful:

Winter Essentials part 1, conditions & weather: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4261

Winter Essentials part 2, clothing & equipment: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4296

Winter Essentials part 3, skills and dangers: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4297

Winter Ridges for Walkers and Mountaineers: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4199

Top 10 Tips for Winter Climbing: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=3416

Winter Mountaineering in Northwest Scotland: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=3258

And not forgetting...

Avalanche - the basics, part 1: Anatomy of an Avalanche: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=5178

Avalanche - the basics, part 2: Staying Safe: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=5179
Euge - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to Exile: Brilliant article... describes my situation to a T. Although I have one weekend a month to climb so has to get planned in advance. Sometimes (or maybe most times)it falls on crap conditions :o(

Cheers
E
jonnie3430 - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

The very best thing you can do is find someone with experience willing to take you out so they can show you all the things mentioned first hand. Post on here a couple of weeks before and see if someone is interested (Good luck on snow holing...) As for location, that is usually figured out a couple of days beforehand when the forecast comes out, anything before that is wishful thinking. If you're driving I suggest making the decision as late as possible so you get the best conditions.

Read all the advice above, but take it as a guide and what works best for you is best for you and comes from trying different things.
GridNorth - on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Are you in the CC yet? We have a hut up there.
puppythedog on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to GridNorth: Still waiting to hear from them. I was tol don the tenth to expect something in a couple of weeks. Going to give it another week and e-mail and ask.
puppythedog on 01 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Thank you all for your helpful replies.

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