Yesterday the team and I visited the West Face of Aonach Mor where we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, some excellent neve and some interesting fresh snow arête’s following the recent weather.
Today we spent some time on Ben Nevis climbing ice pitches in Coire na Ciste and the CIC Hut Cascades.
Yesterday I was out on Beinn Dorain with a team from Ballachulish looking at skills required for guiding on grade I/II ground. There was a good covering of firm snow on many aspects above 500 metres and ice still present on the crags.
Today we have been on Ben Nevis climbing routes in the CIC Hut cascades area and an ice flow below the Curtain. The ice was in good condition today. However, things will be different tomorrow if the forecast is correct but should improve again towards the weekend.
This week I am out with a team from Ballachulish looking at the skills required for guiding one climber on grade 2 winter routes. Yesterday, we visited the Pink Rib in Glencoe to look at short roping skills, the construction of belays and stance management. Today we put these skills into practice on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.
The East Ridge was in good condition with a good quantity of snow on it. The firmness of the snow improved with height. The turf was frozen.
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!
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.
This week I am rock climbing with a team from Ballachulish. After spending yesterday at the Ice Factor, today we visited Glen Nevis and climbed at Polldubh.
We spent the day looking at trad climbing and lead climbing skills on routes such as The Gutter and Tear before, during and after heavy rain showers. Many of the routes in the Alp area of Polldubh were drying quickly during the dry periods and some were possible during the rain.
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.
Today the lads and I visited Ben Nevis where we climbed up Ledge Route and down Number 4 Gully.
Ledge Route was heavily verglassed in the upper two thirds with good snow on the upper third. The snow in Number 4 was very firm and careful cramponing was required.
Today the avalanche risk was low. However, if new snow arrives the risk will increase rapidly and the approach to Ledge Route may not be feasible and climbing in Number 4 will not be advisable.
Lots more photos on the facebook page.
Today I visited Easy Gully on Aonach Mor with a team from Ballachulish. The snow was excellent for climbing and the cornice was not a problem.