After a busy week running a Winter Mountaineering Course for Moran Mountain in the NW Highlands, I was back on home turf today with Mike & Tony.
Our plan A was to catch the gondola at Nevis Range this morning, along with a few other hopefuls, but the strong winds put a quick lid on that plan, so we headed round to Glen Nevis and made our way up to the East Ridge of the North Buttress of Stob Ban. There was a layer of saturated thawed snow sitting beneath a layer of freshly deposited snow on the approach, and the turf lower down was still a bit soggy, but improved with height, particularly where exposed. The climbing itself was as good as ever, giving a nice variety of situations, which Mike and Tony enjoyed. We were somewhat exposed to the SE winds, but besides some blowing spindrift, the winds didn’t hinder our progress. One team of two ventured up towards South Gully, but turned around, and one other team were making their way to the base of the route quite late in the morning, other than that it was very quiet. The main north ridge of Stob Ban was quiet sheltered, so we made the most of the day by ticking off the Munro, before descending the north ridge.
Tim was out running the first of two skills days with Claudia and Pavel. They had caught the overnight sleeper train from London, so with a late start, they visited the impressive north face of Ben Nevis and were introduced to some core winter skills, in between the gusts! Their day today must have felt a million miles away from this time yesterday!
Dave was also out running an introductory winter hill day, with Mark, Reece and Louise. For their first winter hill day, they visited Buachaille Etive Beag in Glencoe, and guess what, battled with the wind. They did have a good day, and started getting to grips with the necessary skills required to explore the hills in winter.