Course report: Dave Fisher
Course: Scottish Winter Walking Skills
Stob Coire nan Lochan: a beautiful day with perfect blue sky, warm, sunny and fantastic views, very alpine like conditions. Through the journey to the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan via the north ridge we covered basic movement on snow, including kicking steps, using crampons, using the axe, and techniques to prevent slips becoming more serious. Unfortunately because of the hard snow pack conditions we didn’t get the opportunity to go through the ice axe arrest today.
the team opted to take the gondola at the Nevis Range ski center to reduce the time spent getting up to the snowline, and maximizing time spent in winter conditions. This took up to 650m, where we ascended the Aonach an Nid ridge to get on some slightly steeper ground, then up to the summit of Anoach Mor. An overcast day today with the odd patch of low cloud passing through, giving a more atmospheric day, with some gentle wind, but stayed dry with good visibility for the most part, and some fantastic cloud formations as a backdrop. We looked at winter navigation, with the group very effectively navigating off the summit of Aonach Mor as if in poor visibility using compass bearings and pacing, a great exercise as its a tricky place to safely navigate in poor weather. We also managed to find a softer patch of snow later on to go through ice axe arrests. We witnessed and helped to rescue a skier on the Aonach an Nid ridge after falling and going through some rocks, luckily walking way from it with only a few bruises and a bit shaken up, if they hadn’t been wearing a helmate it might have been a different story!