Archive for December, 2010

Conditions improving

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Some teams descending from the CIC Hut have reported good conditions on Gardyloo Gully and Glover’s Chimney. It has not been a massive thaw and hopefully the colder weather approaching will consolidate the snow and build more ice. Yesterday on one of my climbing courses on Thompson’s Route shown below.

Today the turf was not frozen on Typhoon on the East Face of Aonach Mor.


Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

At the moment there is plenty of snow and ice about from around 400 metres. Ice on the Carn Dearg Cascades was okay yesterday as was Waterfall Gully. The thaw will improve conditions BUT ONLY IF IT FREEZES AGAIN.
Try Western Sichuan if you are looking for a change. This photo and brief report from Tony Wood. Thanks Tony.

This picture is in Western Sichuan from last year. Miles of W14 and WI5 ice, with bed and board a fiver a night. I am back there in a fortnight with Duncan Francis and will send you a trip report, if you are interested. Sorry its late for Christmas.

Very much enjoy your website.

Tony Wood
Hong Kong

Western Sichuan Ice

Lost a webcam

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Anyone chancing across a webcam please get in touch with . See below

Hi Alan

Whilst climbing with my son on the 23rd he lost his helmet cam on Forgotten Twin. I went back down the route but think it may have taken off down the slope.

I thought if it turned up you may likely hear about it and would be able to let me know. It is in a waterproof housing.  We have also reported it lost at the bottom of the gondola.

For your info the Web was not in condition just unconsolidated snow and Right Twin had very hollow ice with unconsolidated powder above the first left traverse/bulge from which I backed off.  Left and Forgotten were in good condition.


Jim Sutherland

Merry Christmas and Peace

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Peace at Christmas

We have a slight change in the weather coming through today. It has been milder and the next few days look set for some stormy weather. Christmas day allows for rest and reflection in our house. After the roast potatoes and Turkey and a kip in front of the TV, I find it interesting to sift through old photos and ponder on the marvellous places I have been fortunate enough to climb or trek through. Here are just a small selection. Maybe Boxing Day will allow for a few more.

Take care folks and thanks for all of you who support this blog and West Coast Mountain Guides.

Grey Mares Tail

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Hello Alan

I have been out enjoying the excellent climbing conditions in the lakes as much as I have been able to juggle it with work – that’s why I am catching up on emails etc on Christmas Eve but it has been well worth  ‘Making hay…’ as the saying goes.  Kath and I made a first foray north of the border today, didn’t venture too far, just into the land of the Reivers for a raid on the Grey Mares Tail which was in excellent condition, I have attached some photos. Sunny skies and first time placement ice with a short steep bulging out section to add a bit of extra interest. Having well thumbed this page in Cold Climbs and detoured off the A74 a number of times over the years since 1983 always to find I was being over optimistic it was a good early present from Santa.

Have a great Christmas and New Year

Nige Hooker

Thanks Nigel. Looks like it was certainly worth the wait. See you in the ‘Fort’ this winter.

Ben Nevis in shape

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Hi Alan,

We left the lakes at 1.30am in the end and drove straight up, picking the key up at about 6am on tues. We stayed 2 nights in the hut. Excellent few days; though very cold. Between us we climbed Green, Comb, Point 5, Route 1 (to the ledges) and Babylon. The ice was a bit thin but the mixed routes very good.

Thanks once again, it’s a great place.


Luke Hunt

Still VERY cold

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Today from Aonach Mor

The weather is frightfully cold just now and freezing the diesel in my 4X4, plus some condensation in the central heating oil pipes outside, clogged the system for the first time ever. Rumours floating down from Creag Meagaidh suggest good ice.

Global mountain images

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

If any of you anywhere in the world could send me some photos of how your ‘neck of the woods’ is looking at Christmas, I’ll post them here for all to see. This is the first from Japan. By the way Scotland is still very cold and cloaked in snow and ice.

Mt Iwaki-san

It is fine in this afternoon.

I was watching the moon descending upon Mt Iwaki-san several hours ago before the eclipse which could be observed from 15:32 to 19:02 in Japan this evening.


Frosty Holly in the Mendips

Hi Alan

This taken from a wintry Mendips in Somerset.  Not a mountain, but very festive for xmas.


Sunrise over West Face of Aonach Dubh, Glen Coe today.

Thanks to Spike Sellers for this photo above taken this morning on his way to the Aonach Eagach. We now have a big temperature inversion blanketing the area and it is a superb day.

North Face-Pen-y-Fan

Hi Alan

Here is one from South Wales, north face Pen-y-Fan for your xmas collection.

Aonach Eagach today

Thanks to Spike Sellers for this photo taken today in Glen Coe.

Hi Alan, Some pics from Donegal.


From Bren Whelan in the ‘Emerald Isle’

Thanks Bren.

Looking across the Red Tarn Face of Helvellyn

Hi Alan

Here’s one from the Cumbrian Fells today. Looking across the Red Tarn Face of Helvellyn.



Nevis and Mamores 22nd December

Sunset 22nd December in Fort William

Aonach Mor East Face 22nd December

Today in Fort William (22nd December) it is extremely cold and clear.

Mixed Clay climbing


Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Denmark!

Attached is a picture of myself “mixed climbing” in a clay quarry on the small island of Fur in Denmark on the 20th of December. It was -10 degrees – which it has been here for over a month and will be for some time to come according to the forecasts.

Best regards

Peter Chapman

Weather Outlook for next 14 days

Fine weather out west

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Ben Nevis and the west coast hills are experiencing fine cold weather. Teams out yesterday on The Screen and No 6 Gully reported thin conditions, making routes a little harder on the ice. No 6 Gully approach pitches require you to head up the left side and descend into the gully above the first couple of pitches. Today, as can be seen by the photos was a good day out on the East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn. All the roads are open and still some space in the bunkhouse through Christmas.

Clear skies and cold

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Hi Alan,

Just thought I’d share with you what we came across whilst out on Ben Nevis today. Scott Kirkhope and I went out with the intention of climbing something mixed, however, quickly realised that this was probably not going to happen once we turned to head up into Creag Coire Na Ciste. The transformation from last week was amazing! The snow and riming on the steeper mixed lines (Darth Vader, Gargoyle Wall, Slab Route etc.) has pretty much disappeared, and a few of the gully lines on Creag Coire Na Ciste and Trident Buttress seem incomplete. Surprisingly, The Curtain still has a reasonable coating of ice, but could do with quite a bit more, and isn’t really climbable at the moment. We saw one team heading for a thin looking Green Gully, and another team completed a thin Comb Gully. We were drawn to Number 2 Gully area, but again, not a lot seemed to be in great condition there, although Comb Gully Buttress looked to be in reasonable nick.  We hadn’t brought any screws with us, otherwise may well have climbed it. The Cascade is complete, but needs fattening. We ended up soloing Raeburn’s Easy Route, which was fine, although the snow was quite cruddy in places. We decided to then wonder over to, and down Tower Gully, to have a look there. Smith’s Route and Indicator Wall are a way off yet, although ice is forming on the slabs. Hadrians Wall Direct has only got a thin coating of ice and definitely isn’t climbable yet, however Point 5 Gully does look complete. Nice day to be out, a few teams on Tower Ridge, which may well have been the route of choice today! I’ve attached some photos, fingers crossed for some snow!


Thanks Ken. A very comprehensive assessment of Nevis today. Ken and Scott are amongst a host of good aspirant instructors in Lochaber who take every chance of a day off from work to fill their boots with loads of experience on the local hills. I remember well!! I was on Left  Twin today  and found mixed ice and plenty of unconsolidated snow on the East Face. One team was thankful for a top rope on Forgotten Twin to overcome the cruddy cornice. Teams coming off of Golden Oldy on the West Face reported a good day out on the ridges. What is required is a good thaw on top of a load more snow. The conditions are generally good for the time of year and let’s face it 12th December is early for so much snow. With short daylight hours and taxing snow conditions, it will be wise to start early and don’t take on anything too long.

Watching the Wheels