Coire an t-Sneachda

Davy’s sent through some excellent photos from yesterday on Patey’s Route. There’s a couple below showing the two bulges from below (as always click on them to see them larger).

Lower bulge. Photo credit Davy Virdee

Lower bulge. Photo credit: Davy Virdee

Pamela on the upper crux. Photo credit: Davy Virdee

Pamela on the upper crux. Photo credit: Davy Virdee

Coire an t-Sneachda

Davy, Pamela and myself had a very pleasant day out on Patey’s Route in Coire an t-Sneachda. The crux on the day was probably the lower bulge, which is getting a little kicked out.

Pamela above the first bulge

Pamela above the first bulge

The snow/ice conditions in the Northern Cairngorms weren’t quite as good as those further west earlier in the weak with evidence of a deeper facetted layer and the snow a bit less firm and less well bonded.

Davy below the upper crux

Davy below the upper crux

There’s currently excellent cover on the plateau and ski touring looked good especially on sun warmed slopes.

Looking across Coire Domhain

Looking across Coire Domhain

Sunshine throughout the day, no noticeable wind. Terrain frozen at all levels in the morning after a hard frost.

Creag Meagaidh

Sharon, Ian, Steve, Martin and I had a great day today on Creag Meagaidh. The weather was fantastic with wall to wall sunshine and only a light breeze. We climbed ‘The Wand’ which was in good condition.There were many teams on ‘The Pumpkin’ and there looked like teams heading towards ‘Smiths Gully’ and ‘Centre Post’. The walk in conditions are perfect at the moment and the descent from the Window is on good snow.

The walk in to Creag Meagaidh.

The walk in to Creag Meagaidh.

Sharon climbing on 'The Wand'.

Sharon climbing on ‘The Wand’.

 

 

Ben Nevis

Just back from a great three day trip to Ben Nevis with a Falkirk Community Trust team of John, Eliot, Gayle, James, Jim, Nigel and Tam.

Elliot & Jim in Green Gully 22/02/13

Eliot & Jim in Green Gully 22/02/13

There are lots of routes in excellent condition with very well consolidated snow and generally good ice. Care is required on the hard snow particularly on crag approaches and descents as a slip would have potentially serious consequences.

Elliot & Jim on Tower Ridge 23/02/13

Eliot & Jim on Tower Ridge 23/02/13

Over the three days members of the team climbed Green Gully, Number Four Gully (in descent), Central Gully/Central Gully Right-Hand (Creag Coire na Ciste), Italian Climb, Tower Ridge, Glover’s Chimney, Douglas Gap West Gully and Traverse, North Gully, Vanishing Gully, Garadh Gully. All of these routes were in very good condition.

Elliot approaching the 1st belay on Vanishing Gully 24/02/13

Eliot approaching the 1st belay on Vanishing Gully 24/02/13

Buachaille Etive Mor

We have had a great day out today in Glencoe climbing Great Gully on Buachaille Etive Mor. This brilliant route is 360 metres in length and began with some nice water ice climbing before continuing with steep snow and some nice snow ice pitches. It is worth pointing out that with routes such as Great Gully, the guidebook grade is only a guideline! For some thoughts on the possible grades of Great Gully have a look at the information on the route located on www.ukclimbing.com.

Phil Douthwaite and Brad climbing Great Gully.

Phil Douthwaite and Brad climbing Great Gully.

Stob Coire nan Lochan

The weather and conditions continue to be amazing in the Scottish Highlands. Chris and I visited Stob Coire nan Lochan today and climbed Twisting Gully. We followed this by descending Broad Gully and climbing Dorsal Arete. All three routes were in amazing condition. After some lunch we continued to the summit where we met the Falkirk High Tops Team. We all descended the North East Ridge of SCNL together. This ridge, as with all the ridges in Glencoe at the moment, has very firm snow and good crampon technique is essential.

Chris climbing on Dorsal Arete.

Chris climbing on Dorsal Arete.

Beinn an Dothaidh

Out today with a Falkirk Community Trust team of John, David, Doug, Graham and Paul climbing Taxus with the Icefall Finish in the North-East Coire of Beinn an Dothaidh.

Graham and Paul with the slope up to Stairway to Heaven behind

Graham and Paul with the slope up to Stairway to Heaven behind

Other teams out today on Taxus (with the normal finish) and Central Gully. Cloud at coire height all day, South-Westerly wind but no precipitation during the day and no significant wind movement of the snow.

Doug on the initial steepening

Doug on the initial steepening

After the recent thaw and refreeze the snowpack in the area is generally well consolidated. Snow cover started at coire height. Turf was well frozen, but buttress routes looked very black although there was some rime forming during the day. Ice on the route was generally good although becoming a bit thin on the initial steepening. The Icefall Finish and it’s upper corner was on good ice for climbing, but not always great for screws for runners.

Doug on the Icefall Finish

Doug on the Icefall Finish

Lost Valley Minor Buttress

Today we visited Lost Valley Minor Buttress in Glencoe. The approach to the buttress and all the normal walking routes in this area require good crampon technique at the moment. The snowpack is frozen solid and any slip or trip would have serious consequences.

Two teams including mine climbed Chimney Route. The route had lots of useful ice and screws are helpful. The route is currently climbing at IV 5. Right Edge was also climbed and reported to be in excellent condition with lots of great ice on it.

Ben Wallace leading on Chimney Route.

Ben Wallace leading on Chimney Route.

 

Aonach Mor West Face

We have had an amazing day today climbing Western Rib on Aonach Mor. It was a perfect blue sky day with alpine style mixed climbing; bomber neve, good ice and dry cracks. Other teams were spotted on Golden Oldy and the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach. Golden Oldy is drying out quickly, therefore loose blocks will begin to be a problem.

Sam and the lads finishing Western Rib.

Sam and the lads finishing Western Rib.

Beinn an Dothaidh

It has been an amazing day today in the Scottish Highlands. We visited Beinn an Dothaidh and climbed West Gully. The snow was in good condition. Taxus still appeared climbable and the other ice routes are getting there. The buttresses are out of condition.

The exit of West Gully.

The exit of West Gully.