I was back out on Ben Nevis again today with John and Chris. Chris hadn’t worn crampons before and there was a good bit fresh snow, so we headed up in to the back of Coire Leis where we used easy angled old snow to get used to crampons and axe. We then put the rope on and made our way up to the North end of the horizontal section of the Carn Mor Dearg Arete linking scoured snow and rocky sections. After traversing the CMD Arete we made our way up to the summit before descending the Zig Zags and then back to the Allt a’Mhuillinn.
There’s been a fair bit of fresh snow over the last couple of days and the more recent snow was forming soft wind slab in sheltered locations on lots of aspects above 650m; some of this is sitting on a graupel layer from earlier in the week, which is on top of old neve. If you’re out and about in the snow over the weekend choose your route and approach wisely. It’s worth noting the Scottish Avalanche Information Service is providing forecasts for Lochaber and the Northern Cairngorms for this weekend.
Today Chris, Colin and I climbed the Breithorn (4164m) above Zermatt. The conditions in the Alps at the moment are currently very cold so if climbing 4000 metre peaks it is essential to wrap up warm.
We had a great day today above Zermatt climbing the Cima del Breuil and off piste skiing on the Furgg Gletscher and the Oberer Theodugletscher. Last night it snowed meaning today we had even more powder and fresh tracks to ski.
With a pleasant forecast for this morning and good late season ice climbing conditions being reported on Ben Nevis I took the opportunity to get up early and head up for a look.
Conditions didn’t disappoint and I soloed Comb Gully, descended Number Four Gully and was down for lunch. There’s been a fair bit of fresh snow, particularly graupel, over the last few days and this was sitting in pockets in sheltered locations. Some care was required on approach and with route choice. However, the snow ice and neve was in excellent condition with mostly first time placements in Comb Gully. There was a thinner section, which was fine today, but wouldn’t be much fun if things soften up. I descended in to Number 4 Gully on the right hand side looking up, this avoided the steep section in the middle, but I did have to negotiate some awkward mixed steps. I also saw teams out on Italian and starting Green Gully.
I’ll put some more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page for those who want to check today’s conditions, but bear in mind there was more snow forecast for this afternoon, overnight and through tomorrow.
Currently I am out in Zermatt with Chris, Paul and Colin. Today we spent the day in the region of the Klein Matterhorn off piste skiing. As it is near the end of the season and it snowed all weekend, we had fresh tracks all day off piste.
Mick and I were out in the Luss Hills near Loch Lomond yesterday. We did a pleasant half day circuit taking in Beinn Dubh and Mid Hill.
This avoided the worst of the weather further North and East and gave great views. There was a cold northerly wind, it was below freezing on the summit and we had a few graupel showers during the day as well as patches of sunshine.
Mick and I headed up to Kirriemuir today for some sport climbing. It was my first pure rock climbing day of the season and Mick’s first rock climbing in 8 years.
The venue proved a good choice being sheltered from the cool northerly breeze; catching the sun and having lots of routes across the easier grades allowing us to climb 10 routes in a relatively short time. For those who are interested the higher Angus hills could be glimpsed from the approach and still seemed to be holding quite a lot of snow.
On Thursday I was out with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors staff team at the Arbroath Sea Cliffs doing some staff training in coasteering and checking out the cliffs as a potential venue.
The conditions were pretty much perfect with only a small swell, a light breeze and sunshine for much of the day. In good conditions the venue works really well with excellent caves, zawns, tunnels, small islands and lots of potential jumps.
Robbo, Jon, Mikey and I have just spent two nights at the Refuge Col de la Vanoise. We had a successful trip climbing, Pointe du Dard, Pointe de la Rechasse and the Col de la Grande Casse.
As per last week the snow was excellent for the descents. This week there was more avalanche activity. I watched a team trigger a wet slab release on La Rechasse as well as some spontaneous releases today following last nights snow.