Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Yesterday Janis, Normunds and myself headed up to Ben Nevis to climb the classic 'Indicator Wall' V,4. Routes in this area were in excellent condition, with many teams climbing 'Psychedelic Wall', 'Albatross' and 'Indicator Right Hand'.

We were climbing as part of the British Mountaineering Council International Meet. As such, a large team of international visitors were out and about on Ben Nevis, resulting in a few surprised faces.

The forecast today is not very promising with warm and stormy conditions resulting in an avalanche forecast of catagory 5 in the Cairngorms.

There is still plenty of ice high up and it looks like it may well be colder later in the week..

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The freezing level has been fairly high over in the Cairngorms for the last couple of days. This hasn't dampened the spirits on the BMC International Meet however, with many climbers active in the northern corries.

Eric, Dennis (from the Netherlands) and myself had a good day out in Coire an Lochain climbing 'Central Crack Route' IV,5 on No.2 Gully Buttress. Although a little soggy, there was plenty of snow on the buttresses to resist this current thaw.

The forecast for tomorrow suggests much colder weather..

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It has been fairly mild over much of the UK for the last few days. Despite this Tony and Dave managed a week mountaineering/climbing in Scotland. They managed ascents of 'Left Twin' at Aonach Mor, 'Gardah Gully' on Ben Nevis and a brief trip to the Cairngorms over the last few days.

Further a field Neil Stevenson has been out climbing near his home town of Stavanger in Norway, the ice conditions being good on the higher shorter routes apparently (pictured).

Back in the Peak District I was out on Kinder Scout yesterday enjoying the mild weather between the showers. For those able to nip out mid week there has definately been some good gritstone conditions over the last couple of days. Unfortuately, the next few days look like they could be a mixture of sunshine and showers..

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Today, Paul Knowles and myself made the most of our day off by nipping into Corrie Lochain. The crag was in quite good condition with a thick coating of snow ice in many places. 'Sidewinder', 'Milky Way', 'The Couloir' and 'Ewen Buttress' all had numerous ascents.

We opted for 'Ewen Buttress Direct' IV,5, which was heavily verglassed despite it's initial appearence. This gave some very good quality and absorbing climbing in the bottom section.

The next couple of days are set to be warm in Scotland with the freezing level above the summits and showers for the Peak District..

On Friday, Jen, Charlotte and myself headed into Corrie an t Sneachda to revise essential winter skills. The weather was much more settled than recent days, although warmer than expected.

Most of the gully lines were complete, with many receiving ascents form numerous parties. The buttresses weren't in quite so good condition, although an RAF team from Kinloss climbed 'The Hybrid' IV,4 describing the turf as still well frozen.

Today (Saturday) the conditions were some what colder allowing Penny, Neil and myself to make ascents of 'The Slant' and 'Jacobs Ladder'. The snow had frozen well over night giving good neve, ideal for cramponing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gareth and myself were on Ben Nevis yesterday. Conditions were again good, particularly high on the mountain, with plenty of ice on many lines. We climbed 'Two step corner' and 'Wendigo' both of which have tricky cornice exits at the moment! (You have been warned).

Over in the Cairngorms it has been very windy with 80mph gusts forecast for the summits. (According to the SAIS, gusts of 114mph were recorded on Cairngorm as it turned out!!). Fingers crossed for a drop in the winds for tomorrow..

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I have been up in Fort William for the last week, working for West Coast Mountain Guides. The weather has generally been superb with cold temperatures and brief snow flurries, resulting in good ice build up high on Ben Nevis.

Although the previous weeks thaw stripped the snowpack back considerably, there is still plenty of build up. As a result routes such as 'Smiths Route' and lines on Indicator Wall are in good condition despite some brittle ice. Slightly lower on the mountain lines such as 'Green Gully', 'Comb Gully', and 'Central Gully Right Hand' are also in good condition.

Slightly further south ice was forming on the West Face of Aonach Dubh in Glen Coe, and I would hazard a guess that Beinn Udlaidh might be worth a visit.

On Aonach Mor there is also plenty of good ice but with some big cornices which caught at least one party out on Tuesday during their ascent of 'Right Twin'! Sandy Paterson and Luke Osborne climbed a number of lines at Aonach Mor on Sunday reporting good neve/snow ice and frozen turf.

Wednesday saw us out in Coire nan Lochain in Glen Coe with Nick leading 'Dorsal Arete'. (Matt Groves pictured, left). Here the snow was lean but it was still very wintery.

Back in the Peak District heavy snow overnight disrupted many of the transpennine routes leading to widespread delays. This snow will certainly be detrimental to many rock climbing venues and will take a few days to clear subject to good weather...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The last few days have been characterised by sunshine and showers in the Peak District. For those able to get out mid week, the conditions have been good on many crags.

I visited Stoney Middleton on Tuesday, the more exposed bits of crag such as Windy and Garage buttresses being dry. There were no wet streaks evident which is surprising for the time of year.

On Wednesday I walked through Chee Dale. Most of the crags are unsurprisingly wet as they suffer more from seepage (due to the hillside above). However, Plumb Buttress (pictured) looked to be in relatively good condition and is certainly climbable for the keen and competent.

With high pressure still dominating the forecast is promising for the weekend in the Peak District. Further afield in Scotland the conditions have been very mild. However, I wouldn't listen to the doom and gloom merchants just yet, there is plenty of snow high up on Ben Nevis to resist this thaw. Next week is looking colder, if you are keen have a look at http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/avnpanel1.html