Archive for January, 2008

Wild and very ‘Woolly’

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Plenty of character revealing weather on the Scottish hills today!

Thanks to Andy Ravenhill of Alba Mountaineering again for for this collection below taken on Ledge Route, Ben Nevis today. Plenty of very characterful weather to increase the amount of unstable snow around. More gales and blizzards are heading our way and Friday looks even colder and more snowy.

Looking towards N.E. Buttress from the CIC Hut.

The Great Buttress of Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis.

On Ledge Route.

Lunch in an emergency snow-cave.

And another snow-cave.

Blizzards and strong winds

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Thanks to Andy Ravenhill of Alba Mountaineering again for for this collection below taken on Stob Ban in the Mamores yesterday, and Dorsal Arete today. Plenty of very characterful weather to increase the amount of unstable snow around. More gales and blizzards are heading our way over the next few days, so pack an extra ‘jumper’.

Topping out on North Gully on Stob Ban (Mamores) yesterday.

Rugged progress on Dorsal Arete. A fine choice to avoid any avalanches which were being set off by some other groups in the area (?).

A good route for teaching simple winter climbing.

On the approach to Dorsal Arete try to avoid being beneath any of the larger gullies which did release today.

Colder today and snowing

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Just back from a quick trip to Rjukan, where we climbed three multi-pitch routes. Bolgen (WI3) and Tomenn Og Et Faster (WI4) on Saturday. The pictures below show the Sunday route in the Mael amphieatre, which was Isroser (WI3+). This area provided us with some good adventure abseiling in, plus a somewhat prolonged descent after topping-out in the dark into neck-deep powder and terrain covered in wind-blown timber as well as Birch and Alder scrub, all adding to one and a half hours to cover 400 metres of struggle to find the descent track. Great fun though and thanks to Mike Anderson for the pictures below

This shot below shows how important the community of Rjukan feel that ice climbing is to the local economy. Floodlights on the iced up crags to allow climbing to continue into the night. This situation is also replicated in France and Switzerland.

What chance The Highland Council firing up some beams into Stob Coire nan Lochan or towards the Orion Face on a clear night?

Getting colder in Scotland and still plenty of snow above 700 metres, although the weekend weather did a lot of damage.

Mild this weekend then Cold next week

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Thanks to Andy Ravenhill of Alba Mountaineering again for for this collection below taken on Curved Ridge today. Tonight the weather has gone ballistic with driving rain and hurricane force winds,

A Cold Snap is on its way after this dreadful spell goes through. Looks like it could start on 28/29th January. Check out the link which shows blue as the cold area as the winds turn into a more northerly direction. Today has been ‘rugged’ out on the hills and snow down to sea-level at times. It is now settling above about 300 metres, but looks set to rise over the weekend, before heading towards some cooler conditions, if this amateur weather forecaster gets it right:0))

Off to Norway this weekend.

Mild weather on the way

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Thanks to Andy Ravenhill of Alba Mountaineering again for for this collection below taken on The Runnel today in the Cairngorms, where the wet encroachment of weather from the Atlantic was delayed for a while.

Coire an't Sneachda - Cairngorms

It looks like a spell of mild weather on the way, with High pressure in just the wrong place, dragging up warm and damp southerly winds from the Atlantic. All is not too bleak however as the amount of snow that has been blasted in to the western hills over the previous fortnight will take a lot of shifting…hopefully!

Be prepared for wet weather after Thursday for a few days.

Well Wintry on Tower Ridge

Monday, January 21st, 2008

More Axes dropped – see below. Maybe going leashless is not such a good idea after all:0))

Hi Alan

Hope you don’t mind as we have never met; I’ve attached three photos of Green Gully and Morwind on the 20th, a little report and in return would like use your site as a means of attempting to locate a Grivel alpwing axe (adze) dropped on green gully.

Green gully 19/1/08, 1st pitch was a wee bit chossy, the remaining pitches had limited ice with considerable snow and no real cornice to contend with.

Morwind 20/1/08, (very enjoyable) lean with no real ice build up and deep windslab leading to the cornice which was insignificant.

Rick Asher
07971 275309
Green Gully – Belay at the end of the second pitch

Morwind on Aonach Mor – First Pitch

Thanks to Andy Ravenhill of Alba Mountaineering for this special collection below taken on Tower Ridge today. Conditions are good and we have plenty of space at the bunkhouse this week and into the weekend.

Little Tower - Tower Ridge - Ben NevisLittle Tower – Tower Ridge

Ben Nevis - Tower Gap - Tower Ridge
Great Tower, towards the ‘GAP’ – Tower Ridge

Ben Nevis - Eastern Traverse - Tower RidgeEastern Traverse – Tower Ridge

A fine end to a great day. Descending from Ben Nevis

Great Conditions

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Dear Alan,

Many thanks for your excellent website.

Just writing to let you know about some fantastic conditions on North East Buttress – good neve for first time placements, some ice forming low down taking screws however little on the Mantrap or 40 Corner so needed the Tough-Brown Variant to avoid a very late finish!

A strong Hungarian team found Point 5 challenging, whilst a Chester pair completed Cresta without too many problems – however the icy pitch at the top proved to be high in the grade.

One last request Alan please – would you mind advertising that we lost a Charlet Moser Axar (Adze) somewhere between the summit and car park (descent via Red Burn) on Saturday evening. Would you mind passing on email details if anyone comes forward? Or mobile no 07775 946216.

Many Thanks jeremy windsor

Scotland ‘Showing Off’

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Two English Mountain Guides came back today and were ‘knocked over, by the weather and snow conditions. One said Scotland was ‘showing off’ after an ascent of Tower Ridge and descent of Castle Ridge. Another had climbed Summit Gully on Stob Coire nam Beith in Glen Coe and was so impressed that he felt …”he had just climbed the best grade I snow gully anywhere in Scotland, if not Britain”…. High praise indeed.

One more team who had had a wonderful day on Left Twin, East Face of Aonach Mor were also well pleased.

Last Saturday

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Hi Alan
Just thought I’d send you pictures of the Cobbler taken today. South East Ridge was on the agenda. Hard crust and slab evident with a layer of graupel underneath. The snowpack will benefit from freeze/thaw as there was plenty of snow about.

Thanks Alastair, keep the photos and reports coming please folks.

Hi Alan

Was no-one else out on Saturday? We were walking on the Crianlarich hills and looking at the scenery, which was the most spectacular I have seen in many a year. Visibility was perfect – Ben More on Mull and Ben Nevis were both in view from the summit

I had never seen rolling snow accumulate in such perfect wheels as pictured here – there were several similar to this – and I had never previously found one with a natural spindle hole through the middle! The layering really shows the quality of this top layer of snow – cohesive within itself but with little adhesion to theunderlayer.

As there were substantial accumulations in hollows and gullies, and plenty of wind-slab, I dare say climbing conditions were less favourable . . . . . . but getting better this week?

I really like the web-site and the information it provides.



Thanks Jethro. The pictures taken by Rory are superb. My modem has been down for a few days at the weekend and I missed some super photos. A very good start to the winter. Please keep the pictures coming.

Of interest with the ‘Swiss-Roll’ snow formation is the fact that young children playing with these formations closer to towns and local parks, have been buried in them and died in the past. Run if you see one coming towards you!

Conditions in and Out of Doors

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Thanks for putting us up in your bunkhouse. It felt very luxurious after my usual haunt of the Macintyre Hut. Can you put some more heat into your drying room as my kit was pretty wet the next morning especially my gloves. We headed up to Stob Coire nan Lochan where my partner gives me the news that he forgot his guide book. We did Chimney Route with a variation onto inclination.There was a lot of snow, and yes it was very prone to avalanche slabbing off at a depth of approx 8″. Another enjoyable day. Hope to see you again shortly wife and work permitting.

Thanks Dave,
An extra bar heater is already installed. Yours was not the only wet gear that night and I will get it sorted. At the moment I’m in the middle of revamping the drying rooms, so watch this space.
Your photo above is appreciated.