Project:
Cairngorm Traverse

Project:
Cairngorm
Traverse

PROJECT: CAIRNGORM TRAVERSE


The sub-arctic Cairngorm plateau is widely acknowledged as the wildest winter area of Britain: A big traverse in this famous National Park is high on many mountain-lover’s bucket list and a winter traverse is the Holy Grail and a seriously committing objective.

Our route is the absolute pinnacle of Grail-searchers…Commencing with a fixed-rope jumar of the Cairngorms’ famous Northern Corries and then forging a line right over the top of the plateau, we will overnight in the heart of the mountains at the stunning and surreal Shelter Stone, before continuing to the end of the mountains at Linn of Dee and extraction to Braemar for well-earned beers and food in a cosy pub. After a hearty breakfast the team will transfer back to our starting point in Aviemore by road. The month of Febrauary gives slightly less snow at lower altitudes and that means faster progress; plus, more daylight hours to enjoy the outstanding views.

If you can’t make our scheduled departure, we can run this adventure on a bespoke basis for you and your mates. A minimum of 6 people is required to run the trip. Email us to find out more.

Trip Highlights:

– A complete one-way crossing of the Cairngorms in winter – not many people have achieved this
– Britain’s wildest mountains in sub-arctic conditions
– Exciting roped ascent of massive snow-slopes
– Overnight bivvy at the other-worldly Shelter Stone
– A cosy night in the pub to sup, celebrate n’ sleep after the mission

 

 

Saturday 23rd February
The group meets at 0800, in the vicinity of Glenmore Lodge, after emerging from your own accommodation options locally. The group then transits up to the Ski Centre car park, and sets forth into the famous Northern Corries.

The route will ascend up through the corrie slopes and onto the plateau. Navigating this winter wonderland can take you to many summits, and remote places. For us, we are bound to bag a Munro, and then pick our way down to the very hidden Shelter Stone area. We can probably all bivvy UNDER this huge boulder, though other options are alongside. The bivvy camp accommodation will be a mixture of guide-serviced and self-provided equipment. A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

Sunday 24th February
Arise from your cave into dawn and get warmed and fed and ready for the exciting trek out, amongst incredible mountains, cliffs and on trails that steadily improve as you near the River Dee. Eventually, distant Linn of Dee bridge is our target destination. From there, our transit will whistle you to nearby Braemarand you find yourself sitting in a pub or café munching the miles away. We will overnight in Braemar and toast a job well done.

Monday 25th February
Time to pack up and bundle into the transit vehicle again, back to Glenmore Lodge and Aviemore area and repatriate with your own transport and travel links such as Aviemore Rail Station or a bus down the A9. We will be back in Aviemore area by mid morning. This will have been an epic crossing.

Rat Race will provide:

  • Vehicle support for the team, including transits local to Aviemore, and the return from Braemar to Aviemore on the Monday morning.
  • Accomplished guides that stay with you throughout.
  • Communal camping equipment, including tents.
  • Campsite cooking equipment and fuel.

The participant will provide:

Their own mountaineering safety gear including crampons, axe and helmet, rucksack, footwear, trekking poles if desired, waterproofs (recommended with taped seams), and personal overnight kit and safety kit. A towel and a change of clothes for after the activity is also recommended. The winter nature of this trip will require excellent headtorch and back-up headtorch. For the bivvy camp there are options around tent sharing and bivvy set-ups commensurate with your experience and your kit store. Our guides will assess this and add-in further items to make the overnight comfortable, however you will pack a good winter season sleeping bag and sleeping mat, and note that all this kit will influence the size of pack taken. You should be familiar with your equipment, for the conditions.

Note: It is possible to hire equipment from local stores.

A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 6/10 and Endurance rating 9/10. What does this mean?

Technical rating 6/10
This is a guided experience whereby the instructor will lead you through the activity including skills acquisition as you progress. Darkness is guaranteed. Snow and ice is likely. Bad weather is possible. Beautiful crystal-clear vistas are desired and distinctly possible!  You are required to be a reasonably experienced mountain walker that might have rehearsed some winter walking and camping.

Endurance rating 9/10
Participants should expect two strenuous long days, especially as snow conditions might involve ‘post-holing’ in deep snow. For the mountain stages the distances are likely to be close to 6 miles and 10 miles, with over 4,000ft of ascent. Sounds short? Just wait until you are out there – these are the angriest mountains in the UK! Whilst there will be variances in the groups abilities, we will manage the journey carefully to give the best possible day out. Think of yourselves as a team.

Food and Bev

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Communal campsite cooking equipment and fuel.
  • Complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink for all group members in a pub/hotel in Braemar to celebrate a job well done.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Breakfast prior to departure.
  • Dinner and Breakfast at the overnight camp: Advice will be given on what to bring; and assistance in the preparation of.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks after the trip in Braemar, except 1 complimentary one that we will provide.

Accommodation

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Remote camp bivvy at the Shelter Stone, including communal cooking equipment.
  • B and B accommodation in Braemar after the trip.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Accommodation in Aviemore area the night prior to the Challenge, if required.

Transport

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transit from Aviemore area/ Glenmore Lodge to our start at the Cairngorm ski centre.
  • Transit journey from Braemar back to Aviemore area on the morning after our Braemar B and B stay.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to/ from Aviemore area.
  • Onward travel from Braemar, if departing to anywhere other than with our inclusive return Aviemore transfer.
  • The opportunity may exist to transit to/ from Aviemore area from Glasgow for a nominal fee. This service is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Please enquire for further details.

How far is the route? For the mountain stages the distances are likely to be close to 6 miles and 10 miles, with over 4,000ft of ascent. There is a vehicle recovery transit from Braemar back to Aviemore which is 60 slow miles. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing.

How hard is it and how fit do I need to be? It’s a toughie: You are required to be a competent, in-condition mountain walker and to have rehearsed in winter with walking and clothing. You won’t need to be fast .. just strong of heart, mind and body.

How technical is the climbing element? With our expert guide you will be walked into progressively more technical ground, literally, until facing an ascent of a low-grade gully or slope, using rope and climbing equipment under supervision. This will protect you and give you the confidence of movement on steep ground – which you will encounter at later points, though perhaps only using your own personal protection of axe and crampons. At all times the guide will have prepped and be aware of avalanche risk in general and in certain locations and will adapt the route accordingly.

What type of terrain is it? This is deep winter mountain territory. With good snow cover the going underfoot can be a pleasure depending on its firmness. At lower altitudes the ground can be rocky and slow going, especially snow over boulders at transition altitudes. It’s all navigable thought. Add onto the lower paths some water, snow and ice, along with small river crossings and this traverse is truly adventurous.

What might the weather be like? That is hard to say until forecasting is available 10-days out. Even if bright in the day, temperatures will likely plummet at night. If the weather is angry and windy then the guide will simplify the routing to endeavour to achieve the traverse safely, including some magical navigation – even in a whiteout. High-grade head and hand cover is essential, along with spares.

What will the camping experience be like? As long as you are warm, you will love it! Plan ahead for comfort. Pack for comfort. The guides will create an exceptional overnight experience. The planned bivvy area is a good ‘un, but it is rough ground in there, so a good sleeping mat is essential.

Good lights you say? Yes, these need to be minimum 300 Lumens, proven, fully charged, and with a backup second light, in addition to spare batteries for one of the lights.

What if I get lost? Unlikely, as you will be with qualified guides that will intend to keep the group together. If separations are required then the guides will have a plan for how to manage this.

What if I get hurt? Well, this is possible, though some of the spills on this terrain are on soft ground. Competent winter walkers know how to handle themselves on this ground, and prevent themselves sliding too far, but trips and strains are possible. You can call 999 if it’s a true Emergency but our team will be close in the loop to affect best responses. We have First Aid trained staff on the trip with a medical kit. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will manage, escort you off, or come and get you.

Where will you stay? You have many choices in the Aviemore area. You might organise a car share once we have our group list assembled. There is always the meeting area itself; Glenmore Lodge, which does offer B&B unless it is full with planned skills courses. Accommodation is for you to book.

What is included? Check out the tabs above to see what we provide on kit/ equipment and what is included as far as food/ accommodation/ transport is concerned. You can download the full trip notes file HERE.

How do I get back after the Challenge is over? Once repatriated with your car at Aviemore, you are free to go! Alternatively, we would get you to the Rail Station or Bus Station and if we have a Glasgow based guide – jump in the vehicle with them. You might need a recovery B&B night in Aviemore. Sunday is also a long day out due to the drive back to the start. Talking of which .. potentially you could arrange for someone to collect you from Braemar on Sunday evening.

 


23/24th FEBRUARY
2019
 CAIRNGORMS

Point-to-point crossing of the wild Cairngorm plateau in winter.

Foot: 2 day 2 night
1 night camping, 1 night B&B, Guided

    What do these mean?
Technical Rating 6/10
Endurance Rating: 9/10

£299

Price is per person

23/24th FEBRUARY
2019
 CAIRNGORMS

Point-to-point crossing of the wild Cairngorm plateau in winter.

Foot: 2 day 2 night
1 night camping, 1 night B&B, Guided

   
What do these mean?

Technical Rating 6/10
Endurance Rating: 9/10

£299

Price is per person

The sub-arctic Cairngorm plateau is widely acknowledged as the wildest winter area of Britain: A big traverse in this famous National Park is high on many mountain-lover’s bucket list and a winter traverse is the Holy Grail and a seriously committing objective.

Our route is the absolute pinnacle of Grail-searchers…Commencing with a fixed-rope jumar of the Cairngorms’ famous Northern Corries and then forging a line right over the top of the plateau, we will overnight in the heart of the mountains at the stunning and surreal Shelter Stone, before continuing to the end of the mountains at Linn of Dee and extraction to Braemar for well-earned beers and food in a cosy pub. After a hearty breakfast the team will transfer back to our starting point in Aviemore by road. The month of February gives slightly less snow at lower altitudes and that means faster progress; plus, more daylight hours to enjoy the outstanding views.

If you can’t make our scheduled departure, we can run this adventure on a bespoke basis for you and your mates. A minimum of 6 people is required to run the trip. Email us to find out more.

Trip Highlights:

– A complete one-way crossing of the Cairngorms in winter – not many people have achieved this
– Britain’s wildest mountains in sub-arctic conditions
– Exciting roped ascent of massive snow-slopes
– Overnight bivvy at the other-worldly Shelter Stone
– A cosy night in the pub to sup, celebrate n’ sleep after the mission

 

 

Saturday 23rd February
The group meets at 0800, in the vicinity of Glenmore Lodge, after emerging from your own accommodation options locally. The group then transits up to the Ski Centre car park, and sets forth into the famous Northern Corries.

The route will ascend up through the corrie slopes and onto the plateau. Navigating this winter wonderland can take you to many summits, and remote places. For us, we are bound to bag a Munro, and then pick our way down to the very hidden Shelter Stone area. We can probably all bivvy UNDER this huge boulder, though other options are alongside. The bivvy camp accommodation will be a mixture of guide-serviced and self-provided equipment. A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

Sunday 24th February
Arise from your cave into dawn and get warmed and fed and ready for the exciting trek out, amongst incredible mountains, cliffs and on trails that steadily improve as you near the River Dee. Eventually, distant Linn of Dee bridge is our target destination. From there, our transit will whistle you to nearby Braemarand you find yourself sitting in a pub or café munching the miles away. We will overnight in Braemar and toast a job well done.

Monday 25th February
Time to pack up and bundle into the transit vehicle again, back to Glenmore Lodge and Aviemore area and repatriate with your own transport and travel links such as Aviemore Rail Station or a bus down the A9. We will be back in Aviemore area by mid morning. This will have been an epic crossing.

Rat Race will provide:

  • Vehicle support for the team, including transits local to Aviemore, and the return from Braemar to Aviemore on the Monday morning.
  • Accomplished guides that stay with you throughout.
  • Communal camping equipment, including tents.
  • Campsite cooking equipment and fuel.

The participant will provide:

Their own mountaineering safety gear including crampons, axe and helmet, rucksack, footwear, trekking poles if desired, waterproofs (recommended with taped seams), and personal overnight kit and safety kit. A towel and a change of clothes for after the activity is also recommended. The winter nature of this trip will require excellent headtorch and back-up headtorch. For the bivvy camp there are options around tent sharing and bivvy set-ups commensurate with your experience and your kit store. Our guides will assess this and add-in further items to make the overnight comfortable, however you will pack a good winter season sleeping bag and sleeping mat, and note that all this kit will influence the size of pack taken. You should be familiar with your equipment, for the conditions.

Note: It is possible to hire equipment from local stores.

A full kit list will be circulated upon booking of the trip.

We have rated this challenge as Technical rating 6/10 and Endurance rating 9/10. What does this mean?

Technical rating 6/10
This is a guided experience whereby the instructor will lead you through the activity including skills acquisition as you progress. Darkness is guaranteed. Snow and ice is likely. Bad weather is possible. Beautiful crystal-clear vistas are desired and distinctly possible!  You are required to be a reasonably experienced mountain walker that might have rehearsed some winter walking and camping.

Endurance rating 9/10
Participants should expect two strenuous long days, especially as snow conditions might involve ‘post-holing’ in deep snow. For the mountain stages the distances are likely to be close to 6 miles and 10 miles, with over 4,000ft of ascent. Sounds short? Just wait until you are out there – these are the angriest mountains in the UK! Whilst there will be variances in the groups abilities, we will manage the journey carefully to give the best possible day out. Think of yourselves as a team.

Food and Bev

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Communal campsite cooking equipment and fuel.
  • Complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink for all group members in a pub/hotel in Braemar to celebrate a job well done.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Breakfast prior to departure.
  • Dinner and Breakfast at the overnight camp: Advice will be given on what to bring; and assistance in the preparation of.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks after the trip in Braemar, except 1 complimentary one that we will provide.

Accommodation

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Remote camp bivvy at the Shelter Stone, including communal cooking equipment.
  • B and B accommodation in Braemar after the trip.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Accommodation in Aviemore area the night prior to the Challenge, if required.

Transport

Provided within the trip costs are:

  • Transit from Aviemore area/ Glenmore Lodge to our start at the Cairngorm ski centre.
  • Transit journey from Braemar back to Aviemore area on the morning after our Braemar B and B stay.

Participants will cover costs for:

  • Travel to/ from Aviemore area.
  • Onward travel from Braemar, if departing to anywhere other than with our inclusive return Aviemore transfer.
  • The opportunity may exist to transit to/ from Aviemore area from Glasgow for a nominal fee. This service is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Please enquire for further details.

How far is the route? For the mountain stages the distances are likely to be close to 6 miles and 10 miles, with over 4,000ft of ascent. There is a vehicle recovery transit from Braemar back to Aviemore which is 60 slow miles. The route will be shared in full in advance of the Challenge commencing.

How hard is it and how fit do I need to be? It’s a toughie: You are required to be a competent, in-condition mountain walker and to have rehearsed in winter with walking and clothing. You won’t need to be fast .. just strong of heart, mind and body.

How technical is the climbing element? With our expert guide you will be walked into progressively more technical ground, literally, until facing an ascent of a low-grade gully or slope, using rope and climbing equipment under supervision. This will protect you and give you the confidence of movement on steep ground – which you will encounter at later points, though perhaps only using your own personal protection of axe and crampons. At all times the guide will have prepped and be aware of avalanche risk in general and in certain locations and will adapt the route accordingly.

What type of terrain is it? This is deep winter mountain territory. With good snow cover the going underfoot can be a pleasure depending on its firmness. At lower altitudes the ground can be rocky and slow going, especially snow over boulders at transition altitudes. It’s all navigable thought. Add onto the lower paths some water, snow and ice, along with small river crossings and this traverse is truly adventurous.

What might the weather be like? That is hard to say until forecasting is available 10-days out. Even if bright in the day, temperatures will likely plummet at night. If the weather is angry and windy then the guide will simplify the routing to endeavour to achieve the traverse safely, including some magical navigation – even in a whiteout. High-grade head and hand cover is essential, along with spares.

What will the camping experience be like? As long as you are warm, you will love it! Plan ahead for comfort. Pack for comfort. The guides will create an exceptional overnight experience. The planned bivvy area is a good ‘un, but it is rough ground in there, so a good sleeping mat is essential.

Good lights you say? Yes, these need to be minimum 300 Lumens, proven, fully charged, and with a backup second light, in addition to spare batteries for one of the lights.

What if I get lost? Unlikely, as you will be with qualified guides that will intend to keep the group together. If separations are required then the guides will have a plan for how to manage this.

What if I get hurt? Well, this is possible, though some of the spills on this terrain are on soft ground. Competent winter walkers know how to handle themselves on this ground, and prevent themselves sliding too far, but trips and strains are possible. You can call 999 if it’s a true Emergency but our team will be close in the loop to affect best responses. We have First Aid trained staff on the trip with a medical kit. So if you need assistance we will be there; similarly if you need or wish to withdraw from the route, we will manage, escort you off, or come and get you.

Where will you stay? You have many choices in the Aviemore area. You might organise a car share once we have our group list assembled. There is always the meeting area itself; Glenmore Lodge, which does offer B&B unless it is full with planned skills courses. Accommodation is for you to book.

What is included? Check out the tabs above to see what we provide on kit/ equipment and what is included as far as food/ accommodation/ transport is concerned. You can download the full trip notes file HERE.

How do I get back after the Challenge is over? Once repatriated with your car at Aviemore, you are free to go! Alternatively, we would get you to the Rail Station or Bus Station and if we have a Glasgow based guide – jump in the vehicle with them. You might need a recovery B&B night in Aviemore. Sunday is also a long day out due to the drive back to the start. Talking of which .. potentially you could arrange for someone to collect you from Braemar on Sunday evening.