Well done Duncan and thanks for these wonderful pictures. Avoiding the crowds and getting a truly special and inspirational few days in the hills is not too difficult. Fantastic!
Finally managed a big tick, or at least most of it, on Tue-Wed. Soloed the Skye Main Ridge from North to South. Deep powder, lots of verglas, many hoar crystals, plenty of bad ice. Unfortunately, the cloud thickend rapidly on Wednesday, and I couldn’t find the abseil point off Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, so had to reverse the peak and drop down into Coire Lagan. Completely alone for two days; a lonely and committing experience. With the return of the good weather, the powder should now be good neve…….
Hi Alan, was up on curved ridge yesterday in a heatwave.
The ridge is stripped bare and I ended up with a summer scramble and
then took the gully on the left for a 150ft snow plod to the summit.
The top 6 inches of snow although consolidated is still poorly bonded to
the old snow beneath.
There was still a lot of ice higher up on both north and south facing
cliffs but the sun will have stripped the south facing cliffs by now.
Looks like it’s definitely cooler tomorrow so I’m hopeful of good
conditions higher up on the Ben.
Today the weather is very special, as it has been for a for days now. Ben Nevis is very crowded with hundreds of climbers out enjoying the conditions. Yesterday on Point Five Gully it was raining gear and anyone ‘hoovering’ around the bottom of the route will be rewarded with quite a lot of ‘loot’. Don’t all rush, my ‘troops’ are up the hill as I speak collecting ‘stuff’!
The star prize must go to the climber who had his helmet cracked open by a flying ice-screw. He retrieved the shiny, wayward & expensive piece of kit, only to drop it himself later on the route, along with his glove and a fair bit of other bounty. Thanks to my team for acting as ‘Long-Stop’ for the falling second on the Rogue Pitch. We were not sure if his partner even registered his slip.
The North Face car park is crammed full, almost back to the main road. The Outdoor Capital is certainly living up to its name just now. Such a shame the car park is not a lot bigger with toilets and a camp site in the woods. anywhere else in the world and ‘Starbucks’ would be moving in.
Yesterday the team on Sickle, cruising alone had the right idea. I suppose the famous named routes will always suffer from overcrowding. They muttered a few words of truth about ..”Why do climbers always queue up on some routes, when their are loads of other good empty climbs around”..My excuse is that’s what my client, Mark, wanted to climb! And clients like Mark usually get what they want! Another solo climber followed on Sickle, later on in the morning. Also a rumour about a group getting lost on Zero Gully (?).
Conditions beneath some of the cornices are not great, with lots of crusty dry snow hindering secure movement on the final moves. I have one group out camping and another snow-holing on Ben Nevis tonight, so hopefully a clutch of sunset pictures to come.
Thanks to Fred and the French Guides for the four pictures below. They had a real ‘Scottish’ experience and climbed every day during a very marginal week.
I would like to thank you for you considerate. We have past a very good trip in a wonderful plac
e. Climb in Ben Nevis is disorentate and rich in teaching (manage the bad weather, orientation with GPS…). We had taken a lot of pleasure to climb in this mountain. I’m sure I will go back in some years.
- friday 16th: Zero Gully, Point Five. (rain and wind)
- saturday 17th: Point Five, Zero Gully. (rain and wind)
- sunday 18th: Tower Ridge. (good freezing conditions, snow and lot of wind)
- monday 19th: North East Butress, Hadrian’s Wall, Number 2 Gully. ( like the day before but worse !)
- tuesday 20th: we just go to the top by Abseil Post to see the view but when we arrive there is not visibily like the other days before. Too bad for us, we will must go back…!
I enclose 4 pictures with this mail.
best wishes, see you later…