Archive for December, 2009

Stob Coire nan Lochan

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Hi Alan

Update on Stob Corrie nan Lochan on Wednesday- wind depositing large amounts of snow on lee slopes and very thick soft snow in these areas. Broad Gully looks as if it should be well avoided as do slopes below same and Forked Gully.

We ‘swam’ up to Twisting Gully and climbed a couple of pitches but didn’t fancy the snow fan exit slopes so ab’ed off for a well earned chippy in Tyndrum. A hard day with strong winds and plenty of spindrift. SC Gully looked rather thin! Pic taken looking down first pitch.


Thanks for that and the good looking photo.

Bridge of Orchy Hills

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Have been out past couple of days on Beinn an Dotaidh, and then on Beinn Udlaidh. West Buttress had outstanding frozen turf and some good ice, with not too much powder. Taxus was also being climbed by groups, although the avalanche risk there remains high I would guess; we avoided it because there was a lot of slab breaking away in the lower part of the gully.

Beinn Udlaidh was busy; we did the first pitch of Green eyes and then the second pitch of South Gully of the Black Wall to give almost continuous good ice.An ‘instructor’ of some sort got to the bottom of Quartzvein SScoop before anyone else, and then spent the next hour teaching his two clients how to belay at the bottom of it, thus stopping anyone else from climbing the route. Caused some considerable rumblings in teams who had to make do with other routes. But there is loads there to do.

Duncan Francis

Beinn Udlaidh

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Beinn Udlaidh today had plenty of windy weather, some good ice and avalanches on the top apron of most of the routes. Please be careful when topping out.

Beinn Udlaidh West sector.

Quartzvein Sccop is in good shape. Some of the icicles are dripping, but the ice is good.

Quartzvein Scoop.

Plenty of steep ice around Peter Pan Direct area.

Central Gully on the right side of this photo avalanched today, bringing down rocks, snow and two climbers, one with broken leg. Fortunately three rescue teams were having a ‘cuppa’ at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. just fifteen minutes away. They had been on Beinn Dotaidh on another call-out. A helicopter that had been on Ben Nevis was also able to put down a medic in the corrie and effect a quick rescue. Well done.

Piles of Powder

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Thanks to Stephen Gregory for these shots taken today on the Stob Ban – Sgurr a’Mhaim horseshoe. Plenty of snow to plough through. No let up in the cold weather.

Ben Nevis from the summit of Sgurr a’Mhaim

Stob Ban climbs from the ‘Devil’s Ridge’

Winter sky at sundown.

Some folk up on the CMD Arete today told of strong winds and meeting teams who had backed off of Nevis approaches to routes due to the amount of bottomless snow.

Teams back from Glen Orchy reported good ice on Beinn Udlaidh. Certainly the lower icefalls seem to be the best bet at the moment. Has anyone been up to Steall Waterfall recently?

Still very cold

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Thanks to Gillian Culshaw for these two photos taken in Glen Coe today.

Stephen and Stephen (Greg) on top of Stob Coire nan Lochan today. Bidean behind.

The cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan, well plastered.

Lake District Photos

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Hi Alan,
Thanks for the Newsletter and the stunning photos. What a great start to the winter!

Wednesday before Christmas was a super day for a quick tour over the Cumbria / Durham border.

Boxing Day was a day of two halves down here. In the morning we managed to catch the soggy end of a good run of cold and snowy weather – semi frozen turf low down in Nethermost Cove and deep drifts. In the afternoon the sun came out for the mass ascent of Blencathra. All we need now is some of your really low temperatures to sink south.

Best wishes,

Phil at Freetime

Agag’s Groove

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Rannoch Wall has been climbed again by Andy Nelson and Kenny Grant via Agag’s Groove very good climbing, well protected, tricky and sustained. Respect to MacInnes for doing this almost 50 years ago now.

Point Five Gully

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

A quick report on Point Five Gully, which was climbed by folk staying at the CIC Hut. They said the first pitch was okay. The second (Chimney) pitch was a little cruddy in places. The remainder was okay, but the top easier section had loads of loose snow in it. They exited centrally and the cornice was not a ‘big’ problem. The hill was quiet.

The next week looks set to remain cold at all levels with some new snow falling, but not very windy at all. The best options will be buttresses and ridges in popular locations that have a trail blazed in to them. Snow shoes or skis are definitely the order of the day.

Good Weather

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Aonach Mor West Face glistening under an azure sky. Today a little high cloud has encroached on the west coast, but no significant stormy weather around according to the weather charts.

Hello Alan
Thanks for your Christmas message – A Merry Christmas to you and your wife. Spent last 4 days in Patterdale in Lake District. Snow up to waist! Very difficult walking. Very powdery but good sod busting underneath. Couple of photos attached. Just wondering if 67 might be time to take it a bit easier but Scotland continues to be in my thoughts.

Thanks Geoff. You are never too old to stomp up even a small hill!

Winter Peace

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

The…”You Won’t Die of Boredom”…dog-walking route, Great Glen, Caledonian Canal. Grade XII,12. This grade is very flexible and reduces on wet and windy days:-)