West Coast Mountain Guides Conditions Blog

Winter is back!

March 22nd, 2014

With a rather large dump of snow last night any idea of heading up ben nevis was put on hold! So me Steve and Richard wadded are way up to the East Ridge of the north top. brilliant fun loads of snow and some sun shine on the way down!

IMG_3451 IMG_3453

Sun Shine! not seen that  much.

Sun Shine! not seen that
much.

Second half of the CIC hut week.

March 22nd, 2014

Well the weather continued to be un helpful but with a few extra coffees in the morning and a few late starts we managed to get some climbing done, Garadh gully into glovers chimney (this was an expedition!), moonlight gully, an attempt on Observatory Buttress but the weather had other ideas one abseil and then tower scoop and upper tower cascade rescued the day. The Last day was an early start and it was a trip up to no.3 Gully buttress, and came away with two-step start in to no.3 Gully Buttress and Thompsons Route a good way to finish a full scottish week at the CIC Hut. IMG_3428 IMG_3426

Mike and Ian on tower ridge.

Mike and Ian on tower ridge.

Both teams on the top of no.3 gully buttress.

Both teams on the top of no.3 gully buttress.

Tim, Stephen and David

Tim, Stephen and David

Me, Ian and Mike

Me, Ian and Mike

Ben Nevis CIC 2nd week

March 19th, 2014

After a few days of perfect neve and the first winter ascents of many of the classic  Ben Nevis Vs  and others such as all the Minus Gullies, see last weeks posts, this week looked like it could have reaped a rich bag of routes from the CIC hut. The winter warm air arrived with the dreaded moisture element and we are back to ridges, at least for a few days, and hopefully a few more cornices are dropping to the valley floor over the gullies. Every day a major ridge bagged so far this week. NE Buttress, Observatory Ridge, Tower Ridge, Ledge Route and still a couple of days to go. Not such a bad bag of routes after all. It always pays to be in the mountains to get on the mountains!

Warm and wet but cold again tomorrow. Fingers crossed

March 14th, 2014

A wee bit wetter than forecasted this morning and a colder forecast we decided to move are climbing day till tomorrow. We are all hoping that the ice routes are holding in up on the ben time will tell.

In the mean time this is worth a read and considering when you are making plans to climb this week.

This not today! but lets hope it returns, fingers crossed.

This not today! but lets hope it returns, fingers crossed.

http://saismeagaidh.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/conundrum.html

Headed East

March 13th, 2014

With the warm temperatures and rain forecasted we headed to the Cairngorms for some mixed climbing. It was warm there too but their were no cornices above the Fiacaill Buttress. Gaz and Michael climbed Invernookie, it was in good condition with plenty of ice to climb the snow was getting soft towards the end of the day. We climbed The Seam it was wet but had some good ice in the back of the cracks. Fiacaill couloir had a steady stream of people going up it. Not much else happening in the rest of the corrie because of the risk of cornices.

good ice on the Seam.

good ice on the Seam.

spot the climbers

spot the climbers

Coire an Lochain! looks menacing  at the moment.

Coire an Lochain! looks menacing at the moment.

More sun shine.

March 12th, 2014

Its all ways getting up early, quiet routes and good views. today me and Adrian climbed Minus 3 and the continued up NE Buttress. on the summit for lunch in the sun we had another team climb minus 3 later in the morning too, Plenty of folk enjoying Tower ridge, Observatory Ridge, routes on the Orion  and minus face it was another especial day.

Early morning light on the NE Buttress

Early morning light on the NE Buttress

just coming thought the crux of minus 3.

just coming thought the crux of minus 3.

Hight up on NE Buttress

High up on NE Buttress

Heading to the summit for a well earn't butty

Heading to the summit for a well earn’t butty

 

Busy on the Ben

March 11th, 2014

Paul was out on tower ridge with Chris and Andrew. they had an amazing day with good views and sun shine! a rear treat this winter.

The summit of Ben Nevis

The summit of Ben Nevis

just coming out of tower gap.

just coming out of tower gap.

 

Their were lots of teams out on the orion face and the minus face. all enjoying very good climbing conditions. I was out with Donald King and we climbed Left Hand route. a brilliant route. Still a lot of big cornice about so careful route choice is still needed. there were 3 reported cornice incident today.

1st pitch of left hand route

1st pitch of left hand route

other teams enjoying the good conditions

other teams enjoying the good conditions

spot the climbers.

spot the climbers.

the guys on tower ridge.

the guys on tower ridge.

 

High Pressure.

March 10th, 2014

After a very wet day yesterday the weather came good for us today.

The best view

The best view

 

 

We had two teams out on Ben Nevis. Paul, Chris and Andrew was out on Ledge Route, they enjoyed some brilliant views for the north face today.

The other team was myself, Adrian and john (All from the Flat lands!) we climbed the SW ridge of the douglas boulder and then headed over to Green hollow route. Two very nice routes again in stunning scenery.

Their were teams climbing all over the mountain today. It was good to see. we will wait for reports to find out what the ice and condition are like high up on the mountain.

SW Ridge in good condition.

SW Ridge in good condition.

Descending from green hollow route.

Descending from green hollow route.

CIC hut week

March 7th, 2014

We had a great week in the CIC hut despite the weather. Great company good routes and off course Whisky.

The team Eoin and Tim

The team Eoin and Tim

 

 

On Wednesday we climbed Gutless on the Douglas Boulder before the rain set in, we then retreated to the hut for tea and medals. A good route but best done with out a rucksack! On Thursday we had a late start thinking it was not going to be a day for climbing, but the weather cleared and the temps dropped a little bit and we climbed  Observatory Buttress. It was berried and had all types of ice on the route! We then enjoyed are last walk back to the hut via the CMD Arete and a good bum slide, oh and some more whisky. Thanks again to Eoin and Tim for the a great week. “Lets just go for a walk”

Tim battles with spin drift

Tim battles with spin drift

Ben Nevis Summit.

Ben Nevis Summit.

CIC route Book

CIC route Book

2nd pitch Gutless

2nd pitch Gutless

Shove tuesday.

Shrove tuesday.

Point 5 Cornice !

Point 5 Cornice !

Observatory Buttress

Observatory Buttress

Hut life.

Hut life.

Summi

Summit

NE Buttress

NE Buttress

 

CIC hut update

March 4th, 2014

Beautiful day yesteday  led the teams from the near buried CIC hut this winter onto the summit of the Ben via Newbiggings route and then onto the NE Buttress proper for an excellent weather window opportunity for the summit. We also had a team on Tower Ridge yesterday, another excellent outing amidst the wild days of this winter, persistence wins in the Scottish winter game.

The CIC hut team stayed a little lower today and grabbed a rare in condition winter, but technical ascent of Raeburns Arete under the First Platform on North East Buttress, superb was the verdict.

The Curtain was also climbed on Sunday by the team this week after the walk in with the weeks food, keen to get going!

The next 24 hours will bring an above the summit 0 degree isotherm, maybe the Point 5 monster cornice will fall to the bottom of Observatory Gully,  along with others, here’s hoping :)