Scotland February 2020 - Cairngorm / Creag Meagaidh

We’ve had pretty good (well actually excellent) winter trips the last two years arranged by Guy and Dave

I think we should repeat the idea with an early February next year. If we want to get somewhere good at a good price we should commit soon and then start gathering money to pay a deposit. I’ve already been in touch with the place that KiwiDave arranged last year and they are available at the start of February. I was thinking of taking about 12 days covering the first two weekends of February and targeting Creag Meagaidh with Cairngorms as a secondary objective and Ben Nevis (1 hour away?) as a potential conditions backup.

Who would be up for this? Any thoughts about arrangements and dates?

Hi Mike,

I was going to offer to take the lead on this purely so I could try and secure dates that work for me!

Ideally, I’d like to do schedule things from c. 15-23rd February as that is when I have university reading week so can sneak off without being expected to be around to teach etc.

Others may also want to pencil in a later, March, trip, but if we are doing a February trip these dates please. Note I think this is also half term for most of London schools so could help others out accordingly.

Cool stuff, I am definitely in, last year was awesome! Fairly flexible with dates so far (don’t have anything planned that far out), but probably won’t be able to take 2 whole weeks.

Though if there’s decent internet, staying up there for 2 weeks and mixing in climbing with some work from home would be a very attractive alternative to maximize amount of climbing given conditions.

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@Ladislav same goes for me - I’m only teaching on Fridays next term and a lot of what I do can be done remotely.

let’s keep an eye open on such options!

I would be very keen to attend if ok BUT won’t know my work dates for another few weeks so will monitor the chat :cat2: topic in the interim but 70+ per cent can attend

Hahaha where did that Cat come from. Splendid.


I’d be very interested in attending.

I’d be interested. I have no experience of winter climbing but I’m fairly experienced at ski touring in the alps. Experience wise would that be ok for coming along? Might need to see if I can rent or borrow some axes and crampons and try climbing in touring boots.

I’m definitely up for it as discussed previously. This year’s Scotland trip was amazing and I can’t wait for the next one.
Date wise I’m flexible. Let’s get a spreadsheet up to get a sense of availability and interest.
Thanks for reaching out, @mikedlr

Here’s a spreadsheet to fill in if you want to come and when you can

I’ve had a chat with various people, quite a number of them including at least one former president seem not to be able to do half term. Luckily it looks like @PaulSagar could come for most of a trip at the start of February. Still I’ve put the various dates up in the spreadsheet so let’s see what people can do. Maybe we end up with more than one week.

For me half term is really impossible due to Family commitments. The most important dates are the weekends 1&2 Feb and 8&9 Feb when I definitely want to climb.

@Aidan on the one hand we had some great ski-touring days at the last two trips so you might want to come along and do that anyway even if you aren’t climbing.

On the other hand, I think the level of experience needed to just join for climbing should really be “could mostly expect to get themselves and an injured leader down from a climb”. Otherwise you need to agree in advance with someone really experienced that they are happy to look after you and show you how it’s done, which can be a bit of an ask. What might be a good thing would be doing what @johnw1 did before and getting an instructor from either Monday to Wednesday or for the whole week (Monday to Friday). Then you’d likely be fine to climb the second weekend if you wanted.

Is there anyone willing to gather recommendations for instructors and people who are interested? I think we now know quite a few good ones between us.

Agree with @mikedlr that a shared guiding experience for novices could be a great introduction.
I’ve taken part in 2 excellent courses with Rich, of which the second was a more tailored experience. Can wholeheartedly recommend him, but you’d need to make sure that he’s guiding rather than a colleague of his.

I’ll have a think about dates and fill them into the sheet.

Just adding this as had very positive experiences (as a novice) with these two [schools] - others can endorse / critique of course. Hope ok to post from the inexperienced cheap seats to the collective knowledge pool!

Martin Moran’s School in Lochcarron, website updated for this year’s turn of events

Mike Lates of Skye Guides

Tremendously nice chap plus they have a hostel these days too I’m fairly sure

I’m in Scotland 28 Oct - 20 Nov (ish) if anyone wants to join me for scramblig and easy rock climbs. I lead HVD and 2nd HS. I like teaching so novices welcome :slightly_smiling_face: Also most of Jan - Feb hoping for white stuff :smile:

So, right now it looks like we have enough commitment from 01 Feb to 14 Feb with some interest around that. I’m aiming to get @guyarnold 's magic formula which rewards people who commit early and use that to help set pricing.

Please everyone who hasn’t done it yet, fill in and decide you are going ASAP if you have any emotional blackmail material on other club members (ideally old photos or films from some embarrassing AGM) NOW is the moment we need you to use it to help them to decide to commit to the Scottish trip.

I’m keen, in my experience mid february is normally better for conditions. I’ll drive up and have a car with space. I’m guessing that one of those spaces will be booked so 2 are available. I could take one other at a push but since we’ll all have kit I’d prefer not too. I’ll be taking ski’s and I guess Barlow (if he comes) will want to test out his shiny spangly new skis.

It’s looking unlikely that I can commit to these dates in advance, because that’s teaching term for me and that means not only teaching but various other meetings, seminars, and other bollocks. So can’t realistically plan on not being in London.

It’s possible that nearer the time I might be able to scamper away, but we’ll have to see. If anyone fancies sticking around the following week, I would definitely be up for meeting then and getting some stuff in (@saclimber I’m sure we could have some silly adventures…)

Keen for the second week! Will have a couple of spaces in a car too.


This sounds great! I’ve added myself to the spreadsheet with some provisional time preferences.

Hopefully it’s going to be a good season, things have started well with good freezing conditions at the moment and very little wind. Last two weekends were excellent in Glen Coe and the Cairngorms and stuff is being done pretty much everywhere. Turf well frozen. There is now a fair amount of snow in the Cairngorms so lee aspects are pretty buried under powder. The windward slopes (or at least side wind slopes) were in great condition for mixed climbing. Many people out skiing too. Sharpen your tools and buy some redbull for the long drive.

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BTW; There was some discussion about the status for beginners at both the AGM and at the pub I think there have probably been some misunderstandings as well as strong opinions expressed by some of the stronger members who don’t want to end up having to rescue people (likely my fault - sometimes I just say what I think at the time… always tell me if it’s something stupid or upsetting and I’ll try to stop - also remember I’m probably trying and failing to be funny) so:

  • We are not an instructional club
  • We do like to include our members and get them going
  • Transferring skills during climbing is one of the traditional climbing club activities
  • Scottish winter can be mega serious - wind and weather can take it beyond the alps
  • We want everyone to be safe - and not end up going out without someone experienced

(small note - this comes from me as my proposal as the person trying to arrange accommodation - not any club official thing otherwise)

If you don’t feel fully experienced, but someone else volunteers to take you out then that’s fine but you are responsible for being sure in advance the person taking you out is safe and comfortable doing that. So I think the recommendation should be that if you haven’t winter climbed before you should book in for one of the courses at Glenmore lodge.

here are some courses that look interesting and match our schedule

First Week

03/02/20 Winter Lead Climbing (5 days) £975.00 £850.00
03/02/20 Winter Climbing (5 Days) £975.00 £850.00
3/02/20 Winter Navigation – Introduction £140.00 £115.00
03/02/20 Intro to Winter Climbing (2 days) £410.00 £360.00
03/02/20 Guided Winter Climbing £1,100.00 £975.00
03/02/20 Winter Mountaineering (5 days) £725.00 £600.00
03/02/20 Ropework for Tourers and Freeriders £140.00 £115.00
03/02/20 Develop Off Piste Skiing £485.00 £410.00
03/02/20 Discover Backcountry Skiing (5 days) £750.00 £625.00
03/02/20 Winter Skills (5 Days) £675.00 £550.00

second week

10/02/20 Winter Skills (5 Days) £675.00 £550.00
10/02/20 Winter Mountaineering (5 days) £725.00 £600.00
10/02/20 Guided Ski Tour (5 Day) £750.00 £625.00
10/02/20 Develop Ski Touring (5 Days) £750.00 £625.00
10/02/20 Winter Climbing (5 Days) £975.00 £850.00
10/02/20 Winter Lead Climbing (5 days) £975.00 £850.00
10/02/20 Advanced Winter Skills (5 days) £675.00 £550.00

The higher price includes accommodation - about £25 a day which is pretty good value. Ours will likely be cheaper and you get to eat with your club mates. You could also join the club trip after your course if you prefer.

Winter walking in the Scottish hills is mountaineering and so if you can do that safely and competently do come along. Ski mountaineering is mountaineering so exactly the same. Alpine skiers are tolerated*. If you have only been out trad leading in summer but are sure you want to start, then the course above are really the best option.

K. should come along anyway because there are several of us (me included) who are happy to take her out anyway. If you aren’t sure, talk to the experienced members of the club about how to get into winter climbing. Maybe they’ll take you along for a day in December and you’ll decide you hate it and never winter climb again which will save you lots of money and risk. Borrow gear if you do that.