Wednesday 4 April 2012

Searching for the White Stuff

As I have already mentioned, I enjoy mountain walking (and a bit of climbing) in winter. The Cairngorms are my favourite location as there is always some snow, but the conditions vary greatly. The best year so far for me was 2010 when there was a complete covering of snow from the streets of Aviemore all the way to the top of the mountains. In 2012 there was only a light covering on the mountains when we arrived. On Sunday February 5th I set out with the intention of climbing Cairngorm and then following the top edge of the Northern Corries via Cairn Lochan eventually dropping down into Corie an Lochan (not literally). The conditions were not too good as the tops were covered in cloud.

Cloud Building in the Larig Ghru and Drifting over Corie an Sneachda 
On arrival at the summit of Cairngorm the sun tried to break through, but it wasn't long before icy rain began to fall. My outer clothes had frozen and I was struggling to see through the ice on my ski goggles, so I was glad to start descending.
We're Definitely Having Some Weather at the Cairngorm Weather Station
Heavy snow overnight created better conditions for Monday, but instead of rushing off into the early morning mist I waited until the afternoon. I climbed out of Corie an Sneachda reaching the Cairngorm plateau close to Cairn Lochan. It was about 16:30  when I reached the top and there was a clear view to Ben Macdui and also Lochnagar. As I made my way down from the highest point of the day, I noticed the moon just peeping out between Cairngorm and Cairn Lochan. The walk down with the moonlight reflecting off the snow was awesome.
Full Moon in the Afternoon
The following day I climbed out of Corrie an Lochan by picking my way up the head wall, which was exciting at times to say the least. Down in the corie I managed to get a few images of winter plumaged Ptarmigan.
I have visited the Cairngorm National Park every February since 2009 and so I've added a few of my favourite images from previous years below:
Loch Avon, February 2010
The Northern Corries From Loch Morlich, February 2010
Snowed In After One Night - It Carried on Snowing for Nearly Three Days, February 2010
Bag Junior on the Cairngorm Plateau, February 2011
Beinn Mheadhoin
If you enjoy mountain adventures checkout this epic adventure

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