Monday, 9 January 2012

Day 2 - The Big Push

Sunday morning was initially much the same as Saturday. I made sure to hit the kit store and get better gloves as well as a vacuum flask. I was NOT going o have cold hands today and I also wanted to have some hot tea with me.

This time we went to the parking lot where the ski lodge is but made a sharp right and then headed out across the landscape for about 3-4 kilometres. While it was warmer than the previous day (which had been -1C with wind chill down to -18) the wind was gusting up to 60 which was enough to completely sweep me off of my feet even in crampons several times.

Anyway, after a godawful long walk we finally settled in at a spot and slapped on the crampons then spent a while learning to walk in them. Then we had a practical session on avalanches and dug avalanche pits. That's our instructor Matt in the photo.

Next we walked across the to the mountain face and learned various ways to ascend with our crampons as well as going side to side and descending. Then that was it, we were up the gully. In this photo, you can see it right in the middle of the pic. And here is a pic from halfway up. And another one looking up

I'll tell you the truth boys and girls. I only got about 3/4 of the way up before the weather  started getting really nasty and I had to get down.

Actually it was really tight getting back. Luckily I had pre booked a taxi but it meant that I basically ran back to my room and grabbed my other bag and then ran for the cab. I couldn't even shower and change so I had to go to the airport like that. Oh well, I just showered when I got home. What can you do? Anyway, Inverness Airport is adorable with just 2 gates. And ladies watch out, there's a fabulous shop airside with all sorts of cute little tweed jackets and cashmere scarves. In the more reasonable range you can pick up a sweet tartan wool utility rug for only £35 and they will ship for free if you spend over £100 so you don't have to worry about carrying extra stuff onto easy jet.

So here I am, aching from head to toe. I'm really glad I took this course. It was really professionally done and I can't believe how much I learned. Facilities are basic but this is  a government thing that's part of sportscotland and they seem to spend the money on the important things like safety and equipment. I'll definitely be taking courses at the Glenmore Lodge again!

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