Not so bothered about cost for once, but would prefer a decent fire! and definitely a drying room, do any of them have drying rooms? Drying several hundred metres of rope is a bit of a challenge!
Happy to teach you the basics to be safe in experienced company or do
easy stuff … (Which is often soloing anyway) - i learnt to winter climb
by seconding david barlow on a IV - not sure this is the recommended method
trad converts really well - is as much about navigation and ropework as
the actual climbing for people with a good trad base …
Hi Tutu, we haven’t met yet, so no idea of your experience of winter! Hope following is useful though…
Experience on the ground, actually doing stuff, is the only way to consolidate learning, although reading and watching videos and talking to experienced climbers is invaluable and will save a bit of time, so start doing that anyway?
Liz has covered learning winter climbing…but…
Scottish/Welsh winter is about a lot more than the climbing, that in many ways is the simple bit. Navigation, hill sense, understanding avalanche risks and reading snow conditions, knowing about when to back off cos the turf isn’t frozen, understanding forecasts, making decisions and adapting plans, big walk ins with big packs, breaking trail, bigger walk outs in the dark. The climbs are the easy bit, topping out of a sheltered climb into a 90mile an hour gale, in the dark and getting back safe are the real skills and are not to be underestimated. It’s not so complicated but you do want it to be second nature. Of course sometimes it is blue sky, no wind, perfect styrofoam snow and fat ice…
Build up your basic skills, practice map reading and navigation, go for some long easy scrambling days in the cold, go winter walking to get used to walking in crampons, get proper hill fit, there’s some great days to be had and it will give you a firm foundation for climbing routes. Doing a full round of the Carneddau or Glyderau would be a good start and there will hopefully be some wintry days before February and there will be people who want to get out, have fun
For those with no mountain experience alan’s concerns are valid - i lost 2 friends in an avalanche in Scotland 2 years ago - they were highly experienced. I was also on the ben that day. Liz
Ps had a message from andy nisbet this morning and he has been out a few days already! winter season is on!
Plus probably thinking to camp/bivvi on the hill a night or more and suspect @Tutu is the only person likely to join me!!
I concur with all the points above regarding safety. I guess to re-iterate, whilst winter climbing is a technical skill, the first thing to learn is safety. You could do worse than reading the Mountain Leader Training Winter Skills book. Much of it is about dealing with the winter environment including, building an overnight shelter! Unlike many texts which focus on the alps, it is tailored to the UK.
Yeah. The courses at glenmore lodge and one I’ve done with Moran mountain do some great lectures on avalanche safety. Some of the most popular venues have serious objective hazards on the approaches and you really do need to know this stuff even if you’re soloing up a grade I/II gully. That book is good too, I have a copy and happy to lend to anyone who wants a read. But always good having someone to explain it to you in person and going out to see some dodgy looking windslab etc.
Back on the subject of accommodation, my vote is for Calluna for half the week then moving somewhere else for the second half. The second weekend isn’t free anyway. It does have the best drying room and it looks like we can get in there. It would be a financial risk as we get no money back if we cancel.
The Corrour place looks fab, but has the access issue. I’m happy to drive if the owner says winter tyres would be sufficient (ATS are switching my rubber as I type). Also, we do need a drying room as @chizharward has pointed out. The benefit of starting the day with dry gear is greater than a bit more comfort in the evenings.
I am thinking that I would drive my car there and back and can offer 3 spaces. I’ll be taking skis too if anyone else facies skinning in to and skiing back from the objectives, let me know. Also, I’d like to ski one of the gullies on Ben Nevis, but I doubt I’d be feeling as confident as this:
Afraid I can only do one day this weekend, sorry.
Will be doing another day/weekend trip before mid December however
Calluna would be ace, is worth it, gets my vote
I’ve been in touch with the calluna which is available from the 5th to the 9th,a bit awkward as we would need to find somewhere to stay on the first night, which wouldn’t be ideal for people just coming for the weekend. So can I suggest:
Option A - Flexible
Sat 3rd to Weds 7th - Corrour Lodge. I am checking with the owners on the access and drying points. There is a utility room, which with the addition of a de-humidifier or two might work. There is a wood burner in the living room. £750 total. If the responses aren’t positive, can stay in the Calluna 5th to 7th, with people sourcing their own rooms for the first night.
Weds 7th to Sunday 11th - Inchree chalets. These have drying rooms, sleep 6 each and are closer to Glen Coe to mix things up a bit. Crucially, the site has three drying rooms, wifi and can be cancelled up to a week before for full refund. £680 total.
Total cost, £1430, split in an equitable manner of course! £750 non-refundable.
Cost if staying the whole week - £130, £65 non refundable
Cost of both weekends/four nights - £82, £46 non refundable (I’ve tried to come up with a discount for staying the whole week)
Option B - Non-Flexible
Camisky lodge 3-10 Feb (https://www.cottages-and-castles.co.uk/self-catering/camisky-lodge-1194). Has many open fires, drying room, wifi, right next to the North Face car park. Granted, it is silly and Prince Charles has stayed there. Nonetheless, a good option for sure with easy access and all the amenities we’re looking for, but not refundable unless we find someone else to fill it.
Total cost £1891
If staying whole week - £165, non-refundable
If staying both weekends/4 nights - £103, non-refundable
I would be psyched for Option B. Not only to be able to tell everyone back home i have bestridden the same porcelain throne as british royalty, but because it would accommodate lots of folk in the event conditions are in nick, it would be comfortable to hang out in/do some remote working from on any down day, it works for the dates, and just for general awesomeness.
Where is Corrour Lodge, not in Corrour itself? That’s a bit away from most venues no?
Would be up for Option B just as is on the A82 so easy to get anywhere, plus drying room…
My preference is for option B too. As long as there’s a decent bunch of us committed for a week which I think there is. Access is super easy and, as Dave says, general awesomeness is a big factor.
I forgot to mention in previous post - I am also happy to camp or bivy as I’ll only be there for the weekend
I vote Option B. It looks amazing!
I vote option B. If the weather is too bad for climbing, we can play board games in the drawing room.
It does have a tumble drier too so ropes can go in that.
We can have an open fire in a different room every other night.
thank you all for the information and safety warning! I would never underestimate the dangers of winter, I’ve been in -50º weather so I know it’s not to be trifled with. But I’ll try to get some UK winter experience. Will see if I can get my hands on one of those winter skills books.
In terms of accommodation, I would go with whatever people think is best (Option B?) as I’m guessing the only cheap option is wild camping/bivvying? Which btw I’d be keen on at some point @dizz_lizzie! but maybe not for a whole week. And I’d be super happy to second something easy or harder to get acquainted with the British snow (I haven’t actually seen any in the past few years of living in London!) Is there any ice skating on Scottish lakes?