The March CIC Winter Meet on 11th/12th March was attended by 13 folk (11 members plus 2 guests) after a number of call-offs over the days prior to the meet.  Most made their way up to the hut on a somewhat wet and windy Friday evening to join Simon Hayes and Richard Church who had headed up on Thursday to get an additional day’s climbing on Friday.  

After some excellent conditions during the 10 days leading up to the meet, the weather gods decreed that the freezing level would rise to summit level with rain falling on Friday and into Saturday at most levels, resulting in a softening snow pack and deterioration of the ice for climbing.  

Everyone headed high into Coire na Ciste on Saturday morning after optimistic assurances from the meet leader that the conditions would improve in the afternoon!  Although the freezing level did drop slightly during the day, new damp snow on the southerly wind along with poor visibility continued to make for challenging conditions higher up and not all parties persisted with their original planned routes.  A couple of avalanches were observed and there was an accident to another party in Green Gully resulting in a helicopter assisted rescue late in the afternoon.  Nevertheless, Two Step Corner V.5, Glover’s Chimney III.4, Central Gully (Creag Coire na Ciste)  III.4 and Garadh Gully II were successfully and safely climbed by parties from the meet on Saturday to add to Green Gully IV.4 climbed on Friday.

The Saturday evening saw the usual blend of eating an evening meal followed by sociable banter in the unique atmosphere that is the CIC after a day’s climbing.  With the President Dave Broadhead and Vice President Chris Ravey in attendance along with a number of CIC regulars, there was plenty of chat to keep everyone entertained whilst the wind and rain blew around outside the hut.

The forecast for Sunday was discouraging with continuing mild temperatures and stronger winds that Saturday.  Stuart McLeod and Olly Stephenson headed up towards Creag Coire Na Ciste early but returned to report further wet snow at height and poor visibility so everyone headed down to the valley after breakfast, having tidied up the hut for the incoming party. 

Thanks to all for making for an enjoyable meet, despite the weather, and to Custodian Robin Clothier for ensuring the hut is always kept in excellent condition. 

Photo of Donny McLeod in Garadh Gully, by Chris Ravey