With Storm Frank looking to leave its mark on the UK through tonight and tomorrow, I was fortunately able to move tomorrow’s work, with Andrew and his wife Bethan to today, and listening to the rain and wind picking up now, I’m glad that they were able to swap days!
Both Andrew and Bethan have a good understanding of winter mountaineering, but they wanted to be coached whilst Andrew led and Bethan seconded, with a particular focus on placing and using rock anchors. As they were staying in the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe, they were keen to make the most of the immediate hills, so we ventured up to Stob Coire nan Lochan, with a few other teams, including Rich and Hannah, who were back out again with their group from Bristol Uni.
On gaining the corrie floor, it was quite clear that only two snow gullies were complete, Boomerang and Broad, (that didn’t stop a team heading up a rather green looking Forked Gully), and so with only one mountaineering axe each, we opted for Broad Gully. Broad Gully is a very straight forward grade I gully, which was perfect, as both Andrew and Bethan felt that there was no need to be on terrain beyond their comfort zones, enabling them to focus more on the ropework side of things. We looked at a number of methods of building belays and made steady progress up the gully. The winds had picked up by the time we topped out, so we made our way back down the same way.
Rich and Hannah and their group also climbed Broad Gully, and made the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan before descending its NW flank. The winds were picking up quite a bit at valley level by the time we reached the cars.