With no partner and keen to make the most of a day I thought I would have a look around the Northern Corries to see what was about after the weekend thaw. I made swift progress into Coire an t’Sneachda thanks to the path now being well frozen from the recent drop in temperature. With visibility down to about 30 meters I had to get quite close to the crags to make out what was looking good or black and to be honest none of the lower rocky mixed routes looked appealing but the classic entry level gully’s were in top shape. I dug around at the base of Patey’s, The Runnel, Spiral Gully, Red Gully and the Goat Track where I found the snow to be excellent before heading up onto the Plateau and wandering over to the lip of Hell’s Lum. Although the skies were super bright it was pretty much a white out accompanied by a strong head wind which made going tough although I noted the wind doing a great job of riming up any exposed rocks.

Believe it or not Fluted Buttress is behind me...

Believe it or not Fluted Buttress is behind me…

Lower grade Gully's in top condition today

Lower grade Gully’s in top condition today

Top of Western Rib and Fingers Ridge riming up in the wind

Top of Western Rib and Fingers Ridge riming up in the wind

After heading back to the Goat Track I bumped into Ken and his clients who were heading for Hells Lum and possibly Deep Cut Chimney which im sure given the aspect would have been whiter than most routes in t’Sneachda. I had hoped to get up and down a load of classic routes today but with the visibility being so poor it was impossible to see if there were cornices or where other climbing parties were on the routes (Ive never been keen on soloing past or amongst others). To get a look at what conditions were like on a route I walked round to climb Red Gully (FAT with ice) which I have done many times before but unfortunately there was a party of 4 waiting to start so instead I plodded up Goat Track Gully II which was full of lovely ice and frozen turf (near the top). From here I traversed across into the top part of Red Gully where it was clear that the top of Fingers and Western Rib were getting nicely rimed up by the wind. I expect routes such as Pygmy Ridge would also have been a good option. On a whole if your wanting to bag loads of Gully’s then there’s plenty to go at whilst the snow pack is nice and firm…..

Just the Coire holding onto the cloud today

Just the Coire holding onto the cloud today

Amazing blanket of cloud over Cairngorm

Amazing blanket of cloud over Cairngorm