Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Alex on the ridge
Brilliant afternoon
A deserted Coire an t-Sneachda
Happy mountaineers
Ridge in sun
On the top
Afternoon tea break
Snow and lots of it
Lots of windblown snow too
More ridge fun
Deserted mountains
Brilliant axe placements
Rime & Windslab
In all the years I have wandered around the Cairngorm mountains, never have I seen them on a day where not a soul was seen, not in February half term week. The snow fell steadily at Aviemore level this morning. The snow gates up the Cairngorm ski road were closed. Cairngorm ski area had put out a social media statement stating 'no skiing today'. Quite hard to believe when the weather forecast was for a massive improvement by late morning. The reward of a sunning afternoon lay in store, for those who walked up the ski road and put in some effort of ploughing through the fresh drifts. We saw just two folk on the road and a few Lodge minibuses dropping off their group at the Sugarbowl. That was it. They were the only folk we saw all day. The mountains were deserted. For Debbie & Alex on day two of their course hey were in for a treat of  day. By 11am the cloud lifted, snowing ceased and the views just got better. I ploughed a trail across to the toe of the Fiacaill Coire Sneachda. The blanket of thick, fresh snow was just amazing. Once on the ridge the going got easier. The moderate Westerly winds were blowing all the fresh snow across he ridge. It was quite special. Stunning and atmospheric all the way up. Another day of cold, high windchill. The clarity of air was superb once the blue skies were overhead. Brilliant along the fun bits of ridge, and f course no one about. Looking over to the Sneachda cliffs it was quite unreal. Full winter conditions and not a single climber about. The winds eased by the time we reached the plateau and the views just wonderful. How happy were we? Going across to 1141m we had more spindrift and lots of atmospheric snow billowing over into the coire. Some big cornices being formed, especially on Jacobs Ladder. We descended into Coire Cas and bizarre to see no skiers and no cars at the car park. Beautiful clear dusk and the easy stroll down the road. What a day. What a day all those people missed! An hours walk up the road, was it really too much effort for people? We were very smug to have stole a wonderful day in the hills. Big hills, big full winter hills. Sun drenched winter hills. And no one was there! Tad windier tomorrow though.

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