Curved, Castle and Ledge

For the last couple of days I have been guiding and instructing on behalf of www.highmountainguides.com. The aim of the two days was preparation for climbing the Matterhorn.

Alongside Mountain Guides Alan Kimber and Jonathon Preston, the team and I visited Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe on Friday. Here we climbed Curved Ridge before descending the route of ascent. This is great practice for the Matterhorn as the only way off the summit is to climb down the route of ascent!

Descending Curved Ridge.

Descending Curved Ridge.

Yesterday we visited Ben Nevis were we climbed up Castle Ridge and down Ledge Route. Ledge Route finishes at the bottom of Number 5 Gully and here we used an axe.

Climbing on Castle Ridge.

Climbing on Castle Ridge.

Cairngorms and Glencoe

Yesterday the team and I travelled from Ballachulish to the Cairngorms in search of dry weather. We were rewarded with a beautiful day and evening. Throughout the day we visited; Coire an-t Sneachda, the Goat Track, Coire Domhain, Feith Buidhe and Cairn Lochan.

Wherever we encountered snow it was firm and crampons were required on all steeper sections.

Today the rain was torrential on the west coast. We visited Glencoe ski centre and spent the day doing avalanche rescue techniques. The snow was disappearing fast.

The team in Coire Domhain.

The team in Coire Domhain.

Buachaille Etive Mor

Today we visited Buachaille Etive Mor. It was another stunning day in Glencoe.

The snow was mostly soft at all altitudes with the odd patch of firmer neve.

Descending from the col at the top of Coire na Tulaich

Descending from the col at the top of Coire na Tulaich

Winter Skills

It was a glorious day again today in Glencoe. I was out with a new team from Ballachulish looking at winter skills such as ice axe arrest.

The highest altitude we reached was 750 metres. The snow was soft at this elevation.

A beautiful day to be out in the snow.

A beautiful day to be out in the snow.

Glencoe Ski Centre

Today we visited Glencoe Ski centre. We spent the day looking at avalanche rescue techniques and snow anchors.

A number of pistes were open today and from a distance the skiing looked good.

Buachaille Etive Mor.

Buachaille Etive Mor this morning.

Pinnacle Buttress Groove

Today the team and I returned to Stob Coire nan Lochan. Here we climbed Pinnacle Buttress Groove in good conditions with nicely frozen turf. Teams on Summit Buttress also reported the turf to be useable.

Lots of evidence of wind transportation of the recent snowfall. There was some minor releases in the corrie as the temperature rose during the day.

Nearing the top of Pinnacle Buttress Groove.

Nearing the top of Pinnacle Buttress Groove.

Aonach Eagach

Today the team and I visited Glencoe and traversed the Aonach Eagach in good conditions. There is a video on the facebook page which shows the conditions on the pinnacles.

There was significant redistribution of snow and graupel today in strong winds. This will have created significant avalanche hazard in many locations and it is worth visiting the SAIS website before heading out.

At the start of the ridge.

At the start of the ridge.

Dorsal Arete and Broad Gully

The team from Ballachulish and I headed into Stob Coire nan Lochan today. Here we climbed Dorsal Arete before descending Broad Gully.

The turf on the route improved with height. Broad Gully was full of new powder snow which had not been wind affected.

The winds during the day blew from many different directions, not just westerly as forecast. Therefore windslab may be found on a number of different aspects.

The lads on Dorsal Arete.

The lads on Dorsal Arete.

Aonach Mor and SCNL

The weather has been fantastic on the West Coast of Scotland over the last couple of days. Yesterday, the team and went to the West Face of Aonach Mor where we climbed Gendarme Ridge.

The face was completely snow covered. Lots of redistribution of snow was taking place with slab forming in sheltered locations.

Today we visited Stob Coire nan Lochan. Here we climbed Pinnacle Buttress Groove. Mike Pescod’s book grades this route at III. This is more appropriate than the II/III given in the SMC guidebook in the current conditions.

The turf on the route was variable. Some of the snow in the corrie now takes an axe, but much is still unconsolidated.

On the Aonach Mor plateau.

On the Aonach Mor plateau.

Nice mixed climbing in SCNL.

Nice mixed climbing in SCNL.

 

Dinnertime Buttress

It was a beautiful day in Glencoe today. A team from Ballachulish and I climbed Dinnertime Buttress in Glencoe before descending Stob Coire nan Lochan.

The route was in good condition from the chimney pitches upwards with good quantities of snow. Dinnertime does not rely on frozen turf which was useful today as the turf on this aspect is currently very variable.

I have posted a video on the facebook page to give an idea of snow cover.

The summit of Aonach Dubh.

The summit of Aonach Dubh.