Douh !

Happen to us all right ?

Some idiotic mistake .. something we forget .. well today was my turn .

With VERY unseasonably warm temperatures for Dec 30th ( 10C !) Fraser and had planned to head into Coire an t’Sneachdea to primarily just “get out” on the hill ( always better than sitting on the sofa) but ideally if anything would go, to get a route in – even if just soloing up one of the grade I’s.

Left the house at 6 , met Fraser at the new services at the Doune roundabout and together we headed in my car to Aviemore . Great chat as always and once we arrived in an almost empty car park, having surveyed glumly the lack of snow on the drive we decided to leave the climbing gear abs just walk in to see what we could do ( ropes and gear would not be needed today ! )

It’s a fairly short , easy walk in to the North Corries ( one of its attractions to me!) and the heat soon meant mid layers were off and in the bag – the wind acting as much needed air con!

We arrived at the coire – clear that very little snow was left but Alladins couloir, mirror and Jacobs would be an easy “steep walk” so we decided to make for Alladins couloir ( an easy Grade 1, steep enough to not be holding much avalanche risk and well within our ability to ascend without any ropes.

Picked our way across the large coire boulders ( much easier when banked in snow!) and made our way up to the snow line planning to grab a bite to eat and get our crampons on and axes in hand.

Bum on rock, axes freed and a protein bar later I’m rummaging around for my crampons which I had dutifully checked for fit and condition the night before. I got the bottom of my bag… but no crampons .. rummaged some more .. still no crampons …

The moment of dawning


While packing the night before I thought I’d be clever and leave the pit the bag til last so they were first out , on arrival at the car park and with us dumping kit I’d forgotten to actually take the. out my gear bag and put them in my rucksack .. eejit!

What to do?

Alladins Couloir (mid right rising up left of the main black buttress) Alladins mirror to its right . Jacobs ladder just right of black high buttress on left hand face

“Lets go old skool and cut steps “ .. tried for a bit – wind was howling now and making ta hard to stand at times, drizzly rain was coming in and as we climbed hover the snow pack was getting g harder and harder so sense prevailed and we bailed…

It was daft to do anything but . Frustrating but we always laugh when we are out , one of the reasons I love being out on the hill with Fraser – always positive . On our walk back out we bumped into Heather Morning and a friend doing the (important and very much appreciated) Scottish Avalanche Information Service ( SAIS) forecasts – nice to chat for a bit on all things mountains including the state of the outdoor community today during/post lockdown and the positives and negatives to be seen and considers .. that’s for another time though.

So – no routes today , no summits but .. and this is important we got out , got a walk , got the views , route planned, assessed conditions and made decisions – all worthwhile in this game and good prep for the real winter ( coming soon I hear !) ..

But from now on my kit stays in my bag ! no “being clever” for me !

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