Euan and I were out today with a Falkirk Winter Climbing team of Alan, John and Lucia. We climbed the East Ridge of Meall Coire Choille-Rais, which felt like a good choice for the day being sheltered on the route and allowing for fairly quick movement.
There was very little old snow visible in the area with just some in gullies and coire rims above 900m. Blustery snow showers were coming through all day on strong west and south-westerly winds. These were depositing snow down to around 500m. There were significant new accumulations at height in sheltered locations with cornices building fast.
I’m just back from two days with Andy. On Saturday we chose to start late to make the best of the weather, strong westerlies with snow but both decreasing as the day went on. We chose to hide from the wind on the East Ridge of Meall Coire Choille-rais, which is a top of Creag Meagaidh. This gives a good mountaineering route, similar in several ways to the nearby East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn, but much less frequently climbed. The route worked well on the day, but it was still pretty windy when we topped out. There was a breakable crust on most snow on the route, the turf was solidly frozen and there was some ice around. Cornices were building on easterly aspects and I wouldn’t have wanted to be in or under any of the nearby gullies on the day.
Today we needed a short walk in, so opted for Creag Coire an Dothaidh, where we climbed The Firebird, before heading to the top of Beinn an Dothaidh. The Firebird required a delicate approach low down, but had some good ice higher up and passed through some great icy scenery. The crag was scoured out after the strong westerlies of Saturday. Older snow had a breakable icy crust. Ice is reforming on Creag Coire an Dothaidh. The upper section of Salamander looked climbable today, however the initial gully was still a stream.