|Gillian fitting her shiny new crampons|
|Judging the terrain and knowing when to remove crampons|
|Removing snow from the crampons|
Whilst at the car park, we looked at what equipment to carry, and how to reduce the dreaded faff factor when winter hillwalking. We then made speedy progress up to the receding snowline, looking for a suitable patch to practice a number of skills. On route, we discussed all the important decision making that went into planning and executing a safe and successful winter excursion. Gillian asked loads of questions which was great, and our discussions took in all aspects of the winter environment.
Once we found a suitable patch of snow, we looked at and practiced self belays, various self arrests, using the boot as a tool and safely carrying and maneuvering with an ice axe. Before we got too cold, we packed up and headed off in search of a summit. Visibility was really poor, which was great as it made the route finding exciting, and added to Gillians impression of the changing winter environment.
Just before the final summit slopes, I got Gillian to pop on her crampons (which we had only bought this very morning!!!) so that we could look at appropriate and inappropriate terrain for crampon use. At the summit we enjoyed a well earned lunch, before heading back down as the wind really picked up, making movement a bit tricky! We stomped from snow patch to snow patch until the snow began to really disappear at which point Gillian removed her crampons. Interestingly, the only photos I took today was of Gillian putting her crampons on and taking them off again!!
It was an easy jaunt with one bum slide back to the car and onto Fort William. It was a really enjoyable day and hopefully Gillian got enough out of the course to give her some confidence in the winter hills. Thanks Gillian!!