It was nice and quiet in Coire na Ciste this morning, everyone seemed to be piling into Observatory Gully. Shaun and I were only one of three teams in the corrie, and with Green Gully looking complete and empty, our decision was made. Shaun is off the back of a climbing course in the Cairngorms, and wanted to experience a classic west coast winter route, both for his own enjoyment, but also in preparation for an upcoming trip to attempt Mera Peak, Island Peak and Lobuche East in the Khumbu Region of Nepal.
The initial pitch was a bit soft in places, but all there, with reasonable axe placements, and thereafter, the route was in good shape. Don’t expect much in the way of ice screw placements until the direct final pitch, which gave the best climbing of the day. Some rock gear has now been exposed by the steady thaw.
John was also out with John and Richard, they made an early start and had a great time on Indicator Wall. They reported good conditions, made all the better by having brilliant views of the cloud inversion from the summit.
So, what about these warm temperatures and conditions for the weekend? The ice is deteriorating, but on the NW/N aspects, at a fairly slow rate, and what’s there should remain there for the next few days. Easterly aspects are catching the morning sunshine, so whilst things look complete (North, South and Central Gullies of Creag Coire na Ciste), they are very prone to cornice collapse and falling debris, so probably worth avoiding, unless you’re going for night time ascent.