Braving the Floods
At last, the first day of my season of snowboarding at Glencoe Mountain Resort. The East has been getting the best of the weather so far, and Glencoe seem to be dealt a bad hand when it comes to snowfall. But it’s getting there!
In the photo’s, you’ll see its almost and abstract subject matter. It was a bit of a monochrome day and I never took my camera out on the top part of the mountain at all.
After a false start a few days previous, I set off from Glasgow through teaming rain. I actually pulled over near loch Lomond to double check it was all clear. It seems the heavens had opened and I thought if it was a few degrees colder there would be heavy snow on the roads. I sat for a while checked the cameras at Crianlarich which showed a bit of snow on the roads but nothing too bad.
I needn’t have worried as last night’s SAIS forecast predicted, temperatures would rise from morning with freezing levels above the summits for a period, before lowering again.
I made it eventually to Glencoe, where it was raining. I was also given fair warning that the winds may well pick up and uplift would have to be halted.
I had my splitboard for some uphill practice, so a bump up on to the plateau was all I needed.
After a blustery ride up the access chair (and a wave to Chris, now instructing here), I skinned up the Low Road where I then bumped in to Mark (Back Corries). We had a chat about conditions, gear and the forthcoming season, then I continued up Mugs Alley to the rescue hut.
The rain seemed to be following me up the hill and the wind was definitely increasing. There was for sure more accumulation above 800m but it was rain affected too. I’m sure this is helping to consolidate the snowpack. The week previously there had been a size one avalanche near the Haggis Trap. I had a look and it does need more snow. It’s quite a chasm when not filled in.
I followed the ridge up the right hand side of ski to gully. Picking through rocks rather than on the flanks of the gully itself which had large variations in snow depth. I plodded on up the left side of Main Basin where the snow seemed to be gathering, the middle of the run still around the low tide mark. Also if I slipped I didn’t want to go anywhere near the Haggis Trap!
The spindrift was hitting hard and I’d decided to wear my goggles, which may have been a mistake. Should have put them on at the top.
When I finally reached the top I made a rather hasty transition to put my board together and pack poles and skins. The wind was really picking up, and at the bak of my mind I was wondering what the roads were like. The weather was whipping up as I strapped in and slid to the top of main basin.
I had waxed, but the soft snow had high water content and made things really sticky. I should possibly have taken a run on the plateau for a warm up, but as things stood, this was my first run of the season and I ‘d make it work. Not before shuffling over to say ‘hi’ to Gavin and Connor on their hike up.
The turns were not my best and with the low visibility I was a bit disorientated. However, I finally found my rhythm and came down ski tow gulley then down on to Rankin’s Return where my board received a little love bite from a shark or two.
The lower slopes were now deserted, so the plug must have been pulled due to the increasing wind. Thankfully the access chair was still running. This saved me a long damp walk down the hill.
It’s great to be back at the Coe for another season. It looks like the winds will settle for the weekend and hopefully I can get back up before I’m back in the office.