It’s been a busy week so far! I’ve been out for the past three days, running an Intermediate Winter Climbing course for Keith and Nick. On Tuesday, with a poor forecast, we had a day in Glen Nevis, looking at belay construction, personal abseiling and had a wander up to Steall Falls, which neither Nick or Keith had seen up close before.
Yesterday, we made up for the lack of winter climbing on Tuesday by climbing the SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder and Fawlty Towers, which was nice and icy, if a bit soft, and gave a nice contrast in its style of climbing to the more mixed and rocky SW Ridge. Plenty of other folk also chose to stay low and avoid the avalanche hazards further up. One team started up Vanishing Gully, and swiftly retreated, finding the surface ice to be a bit soft following Tuesday’s thaw. Observatory Gully was devoid of folk, and only a few ventured high into Coire na Ciste.
Today, with westerly aspects looking like the safest place to be, we climbed the brilliant Western Rib on Aonach Mor. Keith and Nick enjoyed the long, mountaineering nature of this route (and the access via the gondola!), particularly in the middle reaches of the route, which is a bit more mixed, rather than steep, and at times, soft snow lower down. No one else on our route, and a few teams on Golden Oldie.
Andy was out with Jonny and John over the past couple of days, they climbed Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor yesterday and were on Ben Nevis today.
Rod has a group of four friends on a private guided mountaineering course. They kicked their course off by making the most of the weather and climbed Ledge Route on Ben Nevis.
Lastly, Matt was also out today, on the first day of three with Michael. They too made the most of the good weather, by climbing Curved Ridge, which they enjoyed, and reported it to be quite snowy.
With regards to conditions, route choice will be critical over the next couple of days, as strong SW/WSW winds continue to transport snow, before a sudden rise in temperatures accompanied by heavy rain hits us around lunchtime tomorrow, which is likely to lead to spontaneous avalanches releasing and cornices collapsing, particularly on N-E aspects. Take care out there!