Mock Assessment in Drumochter

After 2 days out in the mountains, Ally decided to take a day off today – preparing himself for ‘something exciting on Friday’. I’m intrigued to see what he has in mind! However, after bumping into Ali Othen in the Cairngorms yesterday, we planned to hook up for a ‘mock assessment’. Ali has already got his Winter ML, and has a vested interest in me passing as he is likely to use me for winter work at some point in the future, so was an ideal person to share a day with.

Me being dwarfed by a snow drift!
Me being dwarfed by a snow drift!

We met up in Aviemore and, after picking up a couple of maps, headed along the A9 to the Pass of Drumochter, just south of Dalwhinnie. The cloud base fluctuated during the day, which kept things interesting for the navigational side of things. More annoying was the surface we found ourselves walking on. There was a mixture of snow, ice, slush and standing water. The frustrating thing was that you couldn’t tell which one you were about to stand on. What looked like snow, often turned out to be a thin sprinkling on top of 6 inches of slush. What looked like water or slush, often proved to be solid ice!

Having taken in the top of Carn na Caim, we started to make our way back towards the vehicles, but stopping regularly to practice various bit of rope work. It was really useful to have the opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of various ways of doing things and to get someone else’s opinion on some of the issues.

As we descended, the sun came out and gave some fantastic views over the pass just to round off a very helpful and productive day. Thanks for your time Ali – much appreciated!

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