Four Days on the West

I have been on the West for four days with Joint Services. On Monday we climbed a wet Dinnertime Buttress before visiting the Ice Factor on Tuesday.

Yesterday we climbed the East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn under the new fresh snow. The turf underneath was variable.

Today we climbed the East Ridge of Stob Ban. The turf improved with height and was firm near the top.

 

Pink Rib and Stob Ban

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.

Climbing into the sun on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

The Mamores

Ivor, Nettle and I spent today in The Mamores taking in some of their remaining Munros. We started from Glen Nevis and went up Mullach nan Coirean via it’s long and pleasant North-East Ridge. After taking in it’s South-East Top we then headed over Stob Ban, Stob Coire a’Mhail and The Devils Ridge to Sgurr a’Mhaim before dropping down it’s North-East Ridge to return to Glen Nevis.

Ivor and Nettle on the summit of Mullach nan Coirean.

Ivor and Nettle on the summit of Mullach nan Coirean.

The wind was a strong South-Westerly and mostly at our backs although care was required on exposed ground and particularly on The Devil’s Ridge. The forecast was for snow and sleet at height, but we only experienced some hail and a little sleet, but plenty of rain particularly later in the day, and we didn’t need axes or crampons. Not the most pleasant of conditions, but good to be out on the excellent ridges of The Mamores.

Dinnertime Buttress and the East Ridge of Stob Ban

Yesterday with a team from Ballachuilish I climbed Dinnertime Buttress (Aonach Dubh) in Glencoe. Crampons were required from 543m upwards. The turf was not in good condition. Above the crux section we moved left to climb interesting mixed ground at II/III.

Today the team and I went to Lochaber and climbed the East Ridge of Stob Ban. This is a great mountaineering route with varied climbing. The snow and turf was in good condition from 800 metres upwards but poor below.

Matt and Kay on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

Matt and Kay on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

East Ridge of Stob Ban

A narrow section on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

A narrow section on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

The team and I headed to Glen Nevis today and climbed the East Ridge of Stob Ban. The snow underfoot on the approach to this route was safe. However, it is worth choosing a suitable line to avoid being exposed to cornice collapse from the corrie to the south of the ridge.

The ridge itself was in excellent condition. The turf was useable above 800 metres and the snow was in good condition. The exit slope was well scoured.

There is more than one way to descend from the top of the ridge. Thought should be given beforehand to this as at the moment there are very large cornices on a number of aspects. These could be difficult to negotiate in poor visibility.

A Report from the West

Linda climbing CIC Cascade.

Linda climbing CIC Cascade.

 

For the last five days I have been up on the West Coast of Scotland. On Saturday, Tina, Scott, Steve and I climbed the excellent East Ridge of Stob Ban before continuing over the summit and traversing the Devils Ridge to Sgurr a’Mhaim.

There was heavy snow on Saturday night so we headed to Glencoe to climb Sron na Lairig as once on the ridge it would give a safe route. The ridge had large quantities of snow on it which made it difficult to find anchors. The weather cleared near the summit to give excellent views for the descent.

For the past three days I have been in the CIC Hut with Gayle, Linda, David, Roger, Gary, John and Martin from the Falkirk High Tops Team. The conditions are currently quite difficult due to the new snow and strong winds. Martin will be detailing the conditions in his report. Routes climbed included; Gutlass, CIC Cascade, Curtain Rail, Waterfall Gully and the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach.

Scott, Tina and Steve climbing the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

Scott, Tina and Steve climbing the East Ridge of Stob Ban.

 

 

 

Stob Ban

Yesterday the weather in the Scottish Highlands ws pretty wild with 100 mph winds and blizzard conditions. We visited the ice factor and spent some time in a craggy area of the Glen practising short roping skills.

Today we visited Stob Ban in the Mamores. The avalanche category for today was ‘high’ so we avoided any open slopes or gully lines by climbing the East Ridge. This gives an excellent mountaineering route at grade II/III with lots of variety. There is lots of new snow around being blown about by strong winds. The exposed turf on the route was frozen.

An interesting steep step on the East Ridge of Stob Ban.