Sunday 30th November

Out working today on Schiehallion, so a quick report for anyone wanting to know conditions in that area. There’s probably an average of about 4″ of unconsolidated snow from road level up and some wind transportation moving the snow on to south and south east faces creating small pockets of wind slab. It was below freezing all day with no real consolidation of the snow. The turf’s frozen where exposed, but still a bit soft where buried and small water courses are frozen solid. 

As an aside, good effort by Greg on Alladin’s Mirror Direct as it looked pretty thin on Friday. 

Sunday 30th November

Greg and James were out today in the Northern Corries.  They climbed Aladdins Mirror Direct.  It is probably climbing at grade 5 at the moment.  Photos can be seen on Gregs site, http://gregboswell.blogspot.com

Greg reports the turf to be frozen but the buttresses to be mainly black.  On his return to the carpark it started snowing heavily and the wind picked up. This may (????) bring the buttresses back into condition.

Other teams were on Invernookie and The Seam.  These appeared to be white.

Friday 28th November

Phil and I had an easy day in Coire an t-Sneachda climbing The Runnel, which looked to be the most continuous line in the whole coire. The route was climbed on old hard snow, ice and frozen turf with enough ice in the final chimney to make things pretty steady and only very small patches of soft new/wind blown snow encountered.

The thaw since Tuesday has taken it’s toll with the buttresses looking fairly black (The Fiacaill looking the whitest). The snow has been lost from most of the gully lines (Jacob’s, both Alladin’s and Central not holding much snow at all). Alladin’s Mirror direct has started to form, but won’t be growing much with the continuosly cold weather forecast. What old snow that is left is now generally very good neve. The thaw has exposed and soaked the turf, which is now freezing very hard. The bigger gullies in Coire an Lochain looked complete.

Other routes getting done were Hidden Chimney via the variation to the direct start, Alladin’s Mirror (looking very turfy), Central Left Hand and Goat Track Gully.

There were a few very light snow flurries during the day in the coire. However, both on the way up and down it was snowing steadily around Drumochter with about 4 inches looking to have settled at road level (and traffic moving very slowly).  The temperature never got above freezing in the coire all day and looked to have been the same down at the ski area car park.

Tuesday 25th November

I was out in Coire an t-Sneachda today with Patryck and Pamela having fun on The Grooved Rib. The first pitch went OK, although a fair bit of cleaning was required and any buried turf was not frozen. Patryck was stopped on the 2nd pitch (via the right hand groove option) by soft turf and we abbed back down as time was getting on and the warm weather had started to arrive. 

At the start of the day exposed turf was frozen, the rock well rimed and any pockets of fresh snow were unconsolidated. However, as we left the coire things had warmed such that the buttress were stripping of rime. 

Tuesday 25th November

Cornucopia, pitch 2I was out with Gareth on Ben Nevis today, the high buttresses were very white and the turf was generally good. We climbed Cornucopia in an interrupted fashion. I dropped a tool into No.3 Gully just shy of the belay on pitch 2, fortunately (after lowering-off) I found it just 20ft down the gully – phew!

The temperature rose considerably in the afternoon though there was little thawing up the top. Unfortunately the the rain looks set to do that tomorrow.

Monday 24th November

Greg and i were out today in Coire an Lochain (Cairngorms) and climbed the Hoarmaster.  This is a brilliant route, worthy of its 3 stars.  The route was very very white and the turf was frozen.  We spotted one team on Deep Throat (they didnt seem to finish) and one team on Fallout Corner.

The conditions on the descent were difficult as a bit of a storm blew in at 4.30pm and there is a lot of deep drifts about.

Pamela was out navigating about the plateau.  She reported a mixture of scoured areas and deep drifts.

Saturday 22nd November

Full Frontal, pitch 2I was up on Stob Coire an Laoigh, one of the Grey Coires, with Viv. We did a new route up the arête between Pentagon and Tallibalan. Full Frontal goes at VII,7. Another pair climbed Centrepoint.

The turf was frozen where exposed, but turf on ledges, buried under snow, was not frozen.

[Photo: c/o and © Viv Scott]

Monday 3rd November

Euan, Mark, Stuart, Pamela and Wilf went in to Lurcher’s Crag on Monday. Pamela and Wilf descended South Gully on soft snow, traversed across to the amphitheatre and climbed Collie’s Ridge on rock and soft snow. Euan, Mark and Stuart descended further south through steeper ground and then climbed Deerhound Ridge.

The approach was well trodden until breaking off from the Ben Macdui path, after which it was breaking trail through dry snow between 6″ and 12″ to the top of South Gully. On return the snow had moistened up with the sun and rising temperatures. The traverse from South Gully showed a lot of minor sloughs and debris from snow coming off the crags above when the sun catches them (not a place to be on a warm afternoon).

The weather was clear all day with very little wind and bright sunshine and temperatures on the crag rising well above freezing. Cloud was building from the north towards the end of the day.

Folks out ski-touring looked to have excellent conditions.

Sunday 2nd November

Euan, Wilf and James had a great day on The Buachaille today heading up Curved Ridge and finishing up left via the “straightforward gully” as described in the guidebook.

The lower section of the Curved Ridge had some iced sections, which could pretty much all be avoided. The wall and groove higher up were ice free. The gully up and left of the cairn was on soft damp snow. Overall it went at about Moderate and I/II without the need for crampons on the day, but an axe proving useful for the gully finish. The turf wasn’t frozen even at height. Other parties on the ridge finished by the Crowberry Tower Gap finish. The descent path down Coire na Tulaich was heavily iced in places with care being required.

The weather was stunning with no wind and sunshine throughout the day. Clear skies meant a freeze was starting back in the glens as we drove down the road, but the lack of wind might mean an inversion.