Friday 25th February Coire an Lochain

Doug looking happy above the steep section of Oesophagus

Out with John and a Falkirk team of Alan, Archie, Doug and Graeme today. Choosing a location today wasn’t easy. We needed to get high, the weather on the east was better that the west, getting over the Cairngorm plateau to avoid the remaining cornices would be difficult due to the wind. We decided to head in to Coire an Lochain, with the plan of heading up to No. 4 Buttress via ground that wasn’t exposed to any cornice collapse from above and doing Sidewinder if it was in. Unfortunately, once up there, it was obvious Sidewinder wasn’t in condition. However, a little more sneaking up under the buttress revealed Oesophagus to still be holding plenty of ice and not exposed to any significant cornice, a nice bonus.

Coire an Lochain showing the "bergschrund"

The temperatures were above freezing all day at crag level, although some light precipitation was falling as snow. Strong south-west winds were moving some ice/snow across the plateau. The buttresses are pretty balck, snow has been stripped back and the remaining snowpack is saturated. Plenty of recent avalanche activity with sizeable debris below the twin burns, a large bergschrund crack below Ewen Buttress and still some very droopy cornices around.

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