Petestack Blog

6 February 2011

Final WML preparations?

Filed under: Climbing,Walking — admin @ 9:58 pm

Yesterday I was out with Kenny Grant on breezy, icy Cairngorm ground to go through as much of the WML syllabus as we could. So we headed up by Coire an t-Sneachda and the slope left (north-east) of the Mess of Pottage before continuing over 1176 towards Cairn Lochan to make a tricky descent into Coire an Lochain, dealing with realistic scenarios for rope work, anchors and security on steep ground along the way. And what a contrast to my ‘soft-snow’ training week on much of the same ground, with the unforgiving scoured slopes and vicious wind contributing no end to the technicality of an otherwise bright and pleasant day, and Kenny no doubt glad of his brand new crampons as well as greater experience where I was struggling to flat foot in places with my not exactly blunt older pair! A most worthwhile day, with hiring your very own personal instructor absolutely the way to go when you want to cover your very own personal agenda, and Kenny striking just the right balance between making me think for myself, offering useful feedback and dropping in some great little tips (including a nifty variation of the stomper he got from Alan Kimber). So it might still have been tricky to identify a safe site to practise self-arrest in the conditions, but we managed to find a slope with just about enough length in less than rock-hard snow before Coire an Lochain levelled into self-braking terrain, only for me to promptly start decorating it with a red polka dot pattern by taking a Glasgow kiss from the icy surface when boldly attempting to drop into a slide from an almost standing position (NB don’t try that on assessment)! However, all’s well that ends well and some minutes later (with nose bleed staunched) we were able to continue with a pretty thorough look at my own arresting in conjunction with teaching points for ‘skills’ days.

Spent much of today on my WML home paper before heading out for a late-afternoon run up the Lairig Mor. Which leaves just next weekend for any last-minute practice but, with a ticket for Saturday night at the Fort William Mountain Festival and a planned arrival at Glenmore Lodge on Sunday, I’d be looking at a short day (or days) if I do go out. So maybe time to recognise that I’ve done what I can, am as ready as I’m going to be and (short of looking up books and slowing up a couple of evening trail runs to try yet more pacing) heading up for better or for worse as I am now! :-)


  1. Good luck with the assessment Pete, though I’m sure you won’t need any luck, you’ve been around long enough! With all the various professionals I’ve run up against in my mountaineering and ski-touring career, you can tell the ones who have paid their dues in experience from those who have just learned the tricks.

    Comment by Andy Cole — 7 February 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  2. Aye, thanks for that, Andy, but don’t forget I’ve had many seasons out (or almost out) of mountaineering over the years before making a solid return over the past few, so don’t have quite the continuity of experience you might think. Might also admit to a certain naivety in my younger approach (when I’d probably never have thought of training/qualifications), but hope I’m starting to justify some of that ‘old hand’ stuff now!

    Comment by admin — 7 February 2011 @ 5:28 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog powered by WordPress. Feedback to