Sun always shines on the mountains


“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm”

 

We are half-way through this winter season and what a winter it's been so far!

In November 2017 I was sat outside The Old Dungeon Ghyll pub, chatting with the landlord. He suggested that 'good winters come every 7-years' and the last good winter was... Yes... You guessed it... 7-years ago!

He predicted a very good winter this year. And how right he was!

It's worth noting here that 'a good winter' is cold and snowy (not everyone's idea of 'good' but it's a mountaineer's dream!)

 

Preparing the mountains

Like readying yourself for a night out on the town, or preparing for that important presentation that you perfectly and seamlessly deliver, the mountains need to get ready...

We've all seen the stunning magazine photos of pristine snow and blue skies with a solo climber high on a ridge in perfect winter mountain conditions. What many people don't think about is the process that had to happen for those images and those landscapes to be so perfect!

We need it to snow, we need the storms, we sometimes need to experience that process of change to really appreciate those perfect weather days!

The mountains take time to dress in their perfect white suits and the wind needs time to move the snow and ice around to ensure that mountain is refined and dressed appropriately for those 'glory photos' to be taken and admired by everyone.

It sometimes snows...

In my recent blog about hiking in a whiteout, I mentioned how difficult it can be when the clouds meet the ground and our senses are thrown in every direction...

These conditions are also prevalent when it snows. But add to that: Wind blasted snow and ice in your face... It can be brutal at times, but this needs to happen for those perfect days to be appreciated.

We experienced these conditions recently in The Cairngorms, when I led a small group of intrepid explorers high above the Lairig Ghru.

16km of zero visibility hiking with high winds and snow... All day... It was relentless, it was tiring, but it was so incredibly rewarding to safely experience mother nature's wild side.

But it's always sunny!

When the sun shines we feel warm, we feel happy, we feel energised.