Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Winter Round Up

Not a great winter for touring. Huge amounts of snow in the Cairngorm ski area at times while the plateau was completely bare. Wind was the overwhelming feature of the whole winter period with just a couple of settled high pressure spells.

I spent most of November/December battling up to the Ptarmigan in dreadful conditions, lured on by the prospect of a fried egg roll and a chat with the ‘Hill’ maintenance guys. I even got the train down a couple of times, it was so grim.

The theme for the early part of the winter

With no end to the bad weather in site I bailed to Les Gets with Mike, Malcolm and John. Great conditions over there with some fantastic deep powder day.

My first significant tour wasn’t until 24th Feb when I traversed the west Dromochter hills from Geal-charn to Meal na Leitreach (see previous post). Despite great snow conditions the mist was down the whole way requiring some tricky navigation around the summit plateaus.

A week latter I traversed the east Drumochter hills from south to north on nordic skis. There was huge amounts of snow in the vast bowl that feeds down towards Sronphadruig Lodge.

A few nice afternoons in early March allowed Pat to sample the delights of Scottish ski touring. Lurcher's (of course), was her first journey outside the ski area. Like cycling, she prefers ascending to descending and likes it best when there’s no one else around, which isn't difficult to achieve.

Pat braces against a big gust on the way to Lurcher's

There were a few days of settled, and very warm weather in mid March. I booked a flight to Malaga the day before the forecast updated to high pressure. Despite feeling slightly frustrated that I was heading in the wrong direction I had a great trip to the El Chorro area with Cog and Cynthia.

Climbing at Turon

My last long tour of the season was along the ridge from Carn Liath to Creag Meagaidh, then on to Beinn a Chaorainn. I would liked to have continued on to Beinn Teallach but the snow line was too high.

Trackless travel between Craig Meagaidh and Beinn a Chaorainn

And the back? Amazingly good considering its only a few months ago that I could barely walk. Strangely enough, all my other long term back and pelvic stiffness has completely disappeared. Rob Edmond was telling me about some new research into back injuries which suggests that a general anesthetic may have a more beneficial effect that the actual surgery because it completely relaxes every muscle in the body. Several days on morphine can have a similar effect. I’m wondering if that’s why my old injuries seem to have disappeared (for now at least).

I don’t have any trips planned at the moment. I’m enjoying work and generally taking each day as it comes while not forgetting the frustration of lying in a hospital bed on the evening of July 23rd when I could have been down the pub having a drink with my wife.

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