Archive for March, 2008

Today on Ben Nevis

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Thanks to Colin Reilly for this good set of images showing all the fun of today on Ben Nevis

Cornice on Number Four Gully

Coire Leis

Looking back to Ledge Route and The Great Buttress of Carn Dearg

Starting along the CMD Arete

Looking up Observatory Gully from beneath N.E. Buttress.

Route Major and associated direct starts to N.E.Buttress looking good.

Castle Gullies

Young ‘Bucks’ on Ledge Route. Colin, you’ll need to feed that lad of yours some raw meat!

Around 2-3 metres of snow on the summit.

Number Four Gully

On Ledge Route today

The Dogs

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Simply put today was good! Tomorrow not so good, but by the weekend icebergs on the Loch.

More Cold Weather Coming

Monday, March 31st, 2008

More cold weather coming for the middle of April. Check out this weblink to weather and head north folks. This is just what we need to keep on ice climbing. Anything with a blue tint on the charts means cold weather. The daily charts are particularly good. The only slight downside is they do not show the position of weather fronts. Use your imagination! With the current snow and ice coverage these charts point towards a very good late season on Ben Nevis


Bunkhouse Bouldering

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Bunkhouse Bouldering

A new addition at my place for all of those wet days we sometimes get in Fort William. Lots of space at the Bunkhouse and the ice climbing is still fantastic if you fancy some April ascents of Nevis classics. Everything to go for just now and the weather is still cool with more to come. Anyone for Point Five Gully in May?

Plenty of new snow and bouldering

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

A new bouldering wall in Fort William. Built by Scott Muir and set by Dave Macleod

Loch Laggan this morning.

Teams out on Orion Face today

Approaching the CIC Hut today

The Curtain is complete just now.

Flying Axes

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Hi Alan,

Sounds like the Ben is littered with ice axes at the moment… I carelessly managed to drop a Quark hammer down point five on Wednesday and too much fresh snow to find it. So if anyone comes across it a call would be great. Number is 07831366603.

Sam Chinnery

Thanks Sam,

It nearly ‘crowned’ an instructor working for me!! Springtime gear hunting will be productive. I’ll post your request. Certainly it will now be well buried beneath the latest ‘dump’. Was that climbing leash less? You may not have realised it but some other kit came down that day. Check your rack!


Interpretation of Conditions

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Firstly, may I say how useful I have found your information in the past. Thank you for your efforts! This week, however, I was surprised to see a comment by Duncan Francis where he quoted Deep Cut as in perfect condition. I have done the route before in excellent conditions and I also did the route the day after Duncan (this Wednesday). This week it provided a good day out and the ice was reasonable in the lower sections but the top was extremely thin. Whatever your tastes, in no way was the route anywhere near in perfect nick and a grade 3 leader wanting to test themselves on some perfect nick 4 would have found it very testing. Admittedly there is the chicken run out right below the top section (itself a very worthwhile variant). Keep up the good work, but I shall view some comments with caution from now on. P.S. Comb Gulley on The Ben yesterday gave a very enjoyable grade 4 in very good and quite easy conditions (honest!).

Gary Baum

Thanks Gary,

The vagaries of Scottish winter conditions! As I was not on the route I cannot say how good (thick) or bad (thin)it was. Last year some people were raving about climbing ‘thin’ ice routes on Psychedelic Wall, when in fact they were as thick as they had been for years. I put up a picture of Poacher’s Gully last week and the author had it down as ‘lean’ conditions, but it looked very good ice to me with plenty of options, albeit once again all I had was a photo.

Personally I think ‘thin’ ice can still be very good to climb on so long as you are precise with your placements. It’s when the ice gets ‘thin’ and ‘cruddy’ that I start to question good conditions.

Just goes to show how careful we should be when taking someone else’s recommendations of conditions. You are correct to question it though and hopefully this blog will reflect the truth and not lead to accidents from suspect reporting.

More snow and poor weather

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Poor weather overnight has dumped a load of new snow on the mountains. Beware of avalanche hazard over the weekend.

Ben Nevis 28th March

Ben Nevis ‘Dressed-Up’ and SHINING

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Simply fantastic day in and around Fort William. Friday looks nasty and wintry on the tops and the weekend should produce more snow as well.

How would you feel if you lost this much kit?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Hello Alan

On Monday 24 March I fell 40 ft off the Cascade I was airlifted off luckily I sustained no serious injuries.
I did leave a fair amount of gear at the Cascade 5 icescrews,2 50 metre ropes,a pair of x monster ice axes one still in the main cascade face plus various slings and runners.
I was just wondering if you had heard from any one who had been up and found the gear .
I would be very grateful for any help you can contact me on 017687 78103 or 07938027899
or on this e-mail address.

Many thanks