If this link and all the other indicators turn true, we are in for more cold weather. On Ben Nevis the routes which have been struck down by the prolonged mild spell should start to reform. Some unsettled but more wintry weather is forecast after the weekend and that can only be good to help the winter stagger into March.
Archive for February, 2012
It was way to warm for winter today. Green Gully looked like the 1st pitch was incomplete, water was pouring off what’s left of Quickstep and Two Step and the last 2 pitches of Number Three Gully Buttress consisted mainly of rock. Cold weather incoming later this week?
Pictures attached from a gloomy day up Observatory gully. We climbed Tower Scoop and then the left most Tower Cascade. Both routes were very wet. A large chunk of the right hand exit to Tower Scoop gave up the fight and headed swiftly down towards the Allt a Mhuilinn, fortunately there was nobody in it’s path. The Tower Cascade was more solid and great fun. Smiths is still complete, the routes on Indicator Wall aren’t. Also worth noting, there are still some fairly large cornices around the top of Tower Gully to be aware of.
Today Professor Stefan the geologist and I climbed Jet Stream on Aonach Mor. The freezing level was nowhere to be seen, lots of drips, dribbles and the odd chunk of ice and snow rolling down the cliff. The route is just about still there but I don’t think it will last much longer. There is also a pretty large cornice to negotiate which consists of very sticky snow. What an interesting couple of days I’ve had learning how various bumps and lumps were created around the Allt a Mhuilinn and on Aonach Mor. Every day’s a school day especially when your client is a professor.
See you tomorrow
Conditions at the moment are certainly mild and damp. Ben Nevis is keeping a good stock of ice on certain routes but be wary of rockfall. Keep your eyes open for colder weather and Ben Nevis will be in good nick very quickly. Aonach Mor is just hanging in on the East Face but not for long I’d think. Yesterday (Sunday) I went to climb Central Gully on Bidean nam Bian but it was broken at the bottom and no doubt a pile of scree higher up after the latest snow melt. We traversed beneath the impressive west facing cliffs of Church Door Buttress and they were devoid of anything to climb and running with water. There is still plenty of good snow in that area for winter skills groups though and also potential for snow holing if that takes your fancy!
Can’t be very many Saturdays in February when you can take a gentle stroll up to Green Gully and have it all to yourselves. We managed just that, even the drizzle couldn’t spoil the day. With the exception of one small and easily avoidable section above the steepest part, the route is in good shape and well recommended. Sorry for the lack of photographic evidence but my phone/camera can’t handle the drizzle like I can. Thanks Chris.
We climbed Tower Scoop in good shape today and like yesterday, some teams appeared to be enjoying Smith’s Route, although the cloud was shrouding any view of that route, which you reported as being in very good condition. The higher routes on Ben Nevis are certainly hanging in and plenty of good snow in all the big gullies. After Tower Scoop we moved up right to climb a very good grade III pitch on to the final crest of Tower Ridge, which was in full winter condition.
Another team was out on the East Face of Aonach Mor and reported some ice still left in that area as well.
An expeditionary force is currently struggling up to the CIC Hut to assess the damage to the routes, caused by four days of melt down. One glimmer of hope for survival is the weekend weather forecast that shows colder weather and snow showers approaching the north-west Highlands. Have faith:)
Thanks to Spike Sellers for these photos taken in Coire Leis today. I think the builders may be living near Ballachulish just now if anyone wishes to discuss terms and conditions for moving in. It was not possible to see how much ice is left on the climbs. Tomorrow looks a lot better though.
Did Indicator Right-Hand on Sunday in good steep condition, poor belays at the mo but good first time placement ice where it is needed.
Also dropped a screw that looped down towards Gardyloo, two guys climbing up stopped and took a small detour to collect it then carried on toward another route.
Reward offered for it’s return if you could post this message, would have been at about 10.30-11 I think.
Thanks to Paul James for the photo taken on Left Twin, showing Tamsin Gay leading the Law twins up the climb last weekend. Also to Tom Parkin for the photos taken yesterday through a brief respite from the gusting blizzards on the Ring of Steall. Today from Tania Noakes on an all together better day on Ledge Route and a subsequent traverse over the Carn Mor Dearg Arete with Ben Dixon and friends.
A couple of days back I reported a ‘Minor Epic on Tower Ridge’ Some of the gear has been retrieved from the abseil retreat. If the Irish group who left the kit wish to contact Ben on 0113 2936 826 and identify what they lost he will return it. Thanks Ben.
Today the weather has been very wet with snow down to the CIC Hut area and avalanches observed on Number Three Gully.