Beautiful day on Blaven. 23rd January


The alpine training continued today in great conditions. Overnight snow lay down to 400m and early showers cleared by 10am.

Kitting up under the huge boulder in Coire Uiganish

John heads up toward our objective Great Gully, grade I.

We soon found ourselves floundering in graupel, a kind of hail that had rolled downhill into deep drifts. When we stopped to put crampons on it stuck to everything.

 Flask with a hail stone coating!

Technically graupel is a type of precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake. It has the consistency of small polystyrene balls and forms a particularly unstable layer that can easily cause avalanches. The quantities involved were fortunately not enough to worry me excessively and we decided to continue as 3 seperate ropes.

Getting close to the top

The scenery on the walls of the gully was as spectacular as ever and very soon we broke the crest.

John’s team traversing the narrow snow arete at the top; very alpine!

South End of the Main Ridge clear in the background behind Spud

Summit smiles

Descending with glorious golden light coming in from the Minch behind