Friday, February 29, 2008

Dorsal Arete and Boomerang Arete..

The weather has been mixed over the last three days with rain to high levels, fresh snow and freezing conditions. I have been working for Plas Y Brenin for the last few days visiting the Ice Factor, and Coire nan Lochain.

There has been plenty of fresh snow, some of which has fallen under high winds resulting in significant accumulations of windslab and a correspondingly high avalanche risk. The harder mixed buttress routes are likely to be in good condition in many locations, assuming that you approach them.

With strong winds swinging around to the North West we could be looking at good "route building" conditions on Ben Nevis. Keep your eye on the SAIS reports....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wild in the west..

Ben, Joe and myself were on Ben Nevis today, in fairly wild weather. Snow fell under high winds for most of the day, making progress on the hill challenging.

Many teams retreated from the mountain having witnessed avalanche activity. Another group opted for a low level day climbing the 'West Gully' of the Douglas Boulder.

High winds are due to continue for a couple of days, but good conditions should remain..

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Winter returns..

Joe, Ben and I were in Corrie nan Lochan today in Glen Coe. The conditions have definately returned to winter today with fresh snow and moderate winds at summit level.

We spent the day practicing essential winter skills in preparation for another day out tomorrow.

Other teams were climbing on Ben Nevis, with rumours of one party on 'Gargoyle Wall' VI,6.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wind and rain in Fort William..

Martin and I were on Cow Hill, just outside Fort William, today doing some navigation practice. The weather on the higher summits is very unsettled with high winds and heavy rain.

The freezing level appears to be dropping tomorrow although high winds may still make climbing difficult. Another mild day is expected on Saturday..

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tower Ridge..

Martin and I were up on Ben Nevis yesterday making the most of the good weather. We opted for 'Tower Ridge' IV,3, which was in very "alpine" condition with some sections being climbed in crampons on bare rock.

The mountain was busy with other teams climbing 'Smiths Route' V,5, 'Satanic Verses', VI,5, 'Shot in the Dark' V,5, 'Indicator Wall' V,5, 'Good Friday Climb' III and 'Tower Scoop' III,3.

The Little Brenva Face also appeared to be in good condition with a number of teams climbing in the area.

It looks like there may be a brief warm spell on Thursday before colder conditions return at the weekend. Keep and eye on the forecast at MWIS...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Alpine conditions, in the Cairngorms..

The high pressure continues to give stable weather here in Scotland with plenty of sunshine and valley frosts.

I have been over in the Cairngorms today working with Andy and Simon. Plenty of good snow/ice remains in the major gully lines, and many parties have been out gully climbing and doing winter skills sessions.

We decided to visit Coire an t-Sneachda before climbing up to Fiacaill Ridge. This allowed us to take in plenty of varied terrain before making a sortie to Coire Domhain to check out the small snowhole village!

The weather looks set to continue for the time being, pack the sunglasses, and make the most of it..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sun and Snow..

Andrew and I were again on Ben Nevis today making the most of the good visability and crisp snow.

We opted for a shorter day taking in the 'West Gully' of the Douglas Boulder and descending down the 'East Gully' making a mini traverse. This outing is quite atmospheric and gave us plenty of opportunities for winter belay, stance management and ropework practise.

The mountain was again busy with teams in all the major gullies, 'Tower Gully', 'No.2-No.5', and 'Castle Gullies'. The french team were out on the mountain again, and were last seen heading up into Observatory Gully in search of thin ice..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Highland High Pressure..

High pressure has been dominating here in the Highlands, resulting in stable and warm weather.

The snowline has retreated rapidly but there is still plenty of snow in the north facing corries.

Andrew, Geoff and I have been making the most of the weather with visits to Aonach Mor on Sunday followed by an ascent of 'Curved Ridge' on Buchaille Etive Mor on Monday.

Today, Andrew and I decided to head up to Ben Nevis making an ascent of 'Tower Scoop' III followed by 'Tower Gully' I. The ice and snow was very good, with "hero neve" plentiful.

Other teams climbed 'Tower Ridge' III, 'Smith's Route' V,5, and a strong french team knocked out 'Indicator Wall' V,5, and possibly 'Satanic Verses/Caledonia' VI,5. The ice is probably a bit thin for the rest of us!!..

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sun and Fresh snow..

The weather has been much improved over the last couple of days for Fiona, John and I.

Tuesday's settled conditions resulted in an ascent of 'Curved Ridge' III,4 followed by 'Dorsal Arete' II today.

The corrie was busy with lots of other teams including those from Jagged Globe and Mountain Motion.

Unfortunately, it looks like the next couple of days are going to be mild. Just remember it will be awesome when it freezes..

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Saturday was my first day off in a while and Ian Hey, Ian Boorman and I decided to have a day in Glen Coe. We opted for 'Shelf Route' IV,6 on Buchaille Etive Mor before finishing up 'Crowberry Ridge'.

This proved to be a good choice in the conditions, despite the need to shovel vast amounts of fresh snow from the trickier mixed pitches.

Matt and Tim also climbed the respected line of 'Inclination' VII,8 in Coire an Lochan, Tim describing it as the "best route he has ever done!"

Today has been slightly warmer with rain and sleet at most levels in Glencoe. For Fiona, John and I this meant heavy going on the approach to Coire an Lochan, through a deep and rather moist snowpack. There was evidence of a fairly large avalanche originating in the area of 'Broad Gully'. Despite this there were quite a few parties climbing climbing the uber classic 'Dorsal Arete', locally known as the Dorsalgrat...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pumping down with snow..

Mark, Richard and I have been into Glen Coe today where it has been snowing all day.

We decided to head up the 'Zig Zag's' on Gearr Aonach under heavy snow before descending into Coire nan Lochan.

Over on Ben Nevis Tim Neill climbed 'Cutlass' VI,7 on the Douglas Boulder. This is a little know Nevis classic which has an excellent reputation among those in the know.

The wind is forecast to decrease tomorrow which should bring more pleasant climbing conditions..