Saturday, March 22, 2008

Looking back at the winter..

For many people the best of the Scottish winter is still to come, with recent significant snow accumulations climbing could be very good during April and May. Click on the link to have a look at some selected images from Scotland 2008. If you shared a day with me on the hill between January and March you could well feature...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Chee Dale and Kinder Night Navigation..

The weather has been good in the Peak District for the last few days with cool temperatures and clear blue skies. Ideal conditions for climbing or bouldering on the Gritstone Edges.

Yesterday I was down in Chee Dale, where it was surprisingly dry for the time of year. Plum Buttress, The Embankment, The Sidings, Nettle Buttress, Two Tier Buttress and Chee Tor were all in climbable condition. The Cornice is still suffering from excess seepage for the time being. Quite inspirational for March!

Wednesday evening saw Peter and I heading up to Kinder Scout for a Night Navigation reassessment as part of the Mountain Leader Award. Peter passed with relative ease which always makes the evening more enjoyable.

Unfortunately it looks like sunshine and showers (possibly snow on high ground) to come for most of the Peak District for the next few days..

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Curved Ridge..

On Tuesday Alan and I made an ascent of Curved Ridge in Glencoe. Breaking trail through the fresh snow was hard work but we were rewarded with a pristine mountain and great views.

There has been lots of fresh snow recently at higher levels associated with a low pressure system crossing the UK. This has resulted in good snow cover on the higher peaks and I suspect may result in good ice development later in March. Fingers crossed!

I am now back in the Peak District, where it appears to be a good day to be out on the Grit..

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Northern Corries..

Dave and I went over to the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms today. The freezing level dropped during the day improving conditions dramatically.

We climbed the short route 'The Messenger' V,6 on the Mess of Pottage, which gave one very good quality pitch followed by some entertaining rambling up ledges and grooves above.

The corrie was busy with plenty of teams out and about including the very keen duo of Stu McAleese and Keith Ball who made light work of 'The Genie' V,7.

Sadly, there was a fatal accident in the corrie today after a hill walker took a significant fall from the corrie rim.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Improving conditions..

There has been a return to full on winter conditions here on the westcoast of Scotland today. Fresh snow and a dropping freezing level has resulted in building ice on Ben Nevis.

Pete, Dave and I nipped up to Observatory Gully with a view to climbing but found soft ice and witnessed some large avalanches (one of which was very close to one team).

The freezing level is forecast to be fairly high tomorrow, with mixed objectives at medium levels probably being the best bet..

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ben Nevis..

Steph, Dave and I were up on Ben Nevis today in some fairly wet and wild weather. I would guess that the freezing level was well above the summit, resulting in rain at most levels.

Despite this there was still evidence of plenty of ice about, and with a return to colder conditions tomorrow the major ice lines should hold out. 'Point 5', and 'Orion Direct' still had abundant ice which was visible from a distance.

We opted for a shorter day climbing the 'West Gully' of the Douglas Boulder before descending into Observatory Gully. With improving conditions there should be plenty to go at over the weekend..

Stob Coire nan Lochain

Steph, Dave and I were out in Glencoe on Tuesday enjoying some superb conditions. Fresh snow and blue skies made for a great combination, with many teams out and about in the corrie (including a solo skier).

Many routes were being climbed in the corrie, with conditions for both traditional and modern mixed routes being good.

Wednesday, resulted in a brief trip to the northern Cairngorms where the weather was some what drier than on the westcoast..

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fresh snow in Fort William..

Snow has been falling here in Fort William overnight with showers continuing this morning.

The forecast for the next few days suggests north westerly winds with frequent snow showers before a return to milder conditions by mid week..

Crest Route

Dave Evans and I visited Coire nan Lochain on Saturday, the corrie being in good condition for the higher mixed routes.

We climbed 'Crest Route' V,6. This often climbed classic has a bit of a cheaquered past having originally been graded IV, and is still the subject of many pub debates (some suggest VI,6!).

There were plenty of other parties climbing in the corrie, with folk on 'Para Andy' VI,7?, 'NC Gully', 'Dorsal Arete' and 'Innuendo' V,6.

Slightly further afield, Steve, Jo and I have been in the Cairngorms yesterday climbing 'Alladins Mirror' I, along with some mixed variations higher up, giving a good introduction to mixed climbing..