Last Day in Scotland: Anoch Mor

Well, after the long hike up to the Window, and the full traverse of the ridge, we decided to be kind and traverse round to the Nid on Anoch Mor, as we had spotted that there was still some snow being held round on the east face, and it was going to be out of the wind, something which might have been important given that the weather was forecast to freeze.

So after a nice pleasant 30 minute approach we set about introducing bucket seats and buried axe belays, and waist belaying. What I have learnt over the years about cutting snow is two fold, one you need to attack the snow and not try to tickle it, and two you need to be accurate with your axe strikes. We spent a lot of time trying to instill this in the group, however they all looked quite knackered after about the first five minutes, but they all managed to dig a good bucket seat and buried axe, and belay some up and lower them off.

After that we went for a walk and found a slight steepening, and got the group to make a snow bollard and abseil off it, before then combining the snow bollard with a bucket seat, and lower someone.

With about half an hour left we got the shovels out and found a small crease at the base of the slope we were on and got half the group to dig an emergency shelter and the other half to dig a snow grave. We managed to fit two in the snow grave and three in the shelter.

After that we head back as the clag came in and after one final night in Scotland we made the long drive back home yesterday.

I have to say I really enjoyed my time up in Scotland, I was volunteering my services for the Conway Centre, who regular employ me on summer and rock climbing courses. They offered me the oppotunity to use the Winter Mountain Leader qualification I got last year to get some logbook days for the next qualification. I believe that the group from Llandrillo College really enjoyed themselves, and hopefully learnt some skills which if they choose to follow either a life long passion for the outdoors or a career in the outdoors will help them as well.

My plan was to stay up and do my Mountain Instructor Certificate Training course. Whilst there was enough snow for a intro to winter skills course, the weather and conditions, are in my humble opinion not suited to teaching and learning the neccessary skills for a winter climbing instructors course, as the only winter seemed to be in grade one gullys. Such a shame, I’ll have to try and get on a course next early next winter season.

Although the plus side is, I now have £700 to spend on something else, probably rent and food!

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