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.

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.

Cairngorms and Glen Coe

On Saturday and Sunday I was out with Andy and Rob and the weekend proved to be a microcosm of this winter season in that we had cold snowy conditions with quick changes to rain and freezing levels above the summits and back again.

Rob exiting Anvil Gully on Saturday morning.

Rob exiting Anvil Gully on Saturday morning with the Anvil block behind.

We met at Aviemore on Saturday to make the most of the later arrival of the warmer temperatures in the East and headed to Creagan Coire a’Cha-no in cold sunny conditions. After abseiling in we climbed Anvil Gully and as the snow was now starting to get soggy we then climbed the rocky Duke’s Rib before heading down and across to Fort William.

A damp scramble up The Zig Zags late Sunday morning.

A damp scramble up The Zig Zags late Sunday morning.

The weather was then rain above the summits through the night and in to Sunday morning with the freezing level forecast to drop to 800m on Sunday afternoon. Given this we opted for a late start on Sunday and climbed up on to Gearr Aonach via the scramble of The Zig Zags. After this we walked along to Stob Coire nan Lochan and climbed part way up Broad Gully on soft snow. By this time the temperature had dropped and things were starting to firm up and occasional snow showers were falling. We climbed out of Broad Gully on snow to gain Dorsal Arete before it’s crux rocky fin and climbed up this to the top before descending Broad Gully. This worked well as a good mountaineering day and had the added benefit of taking in the fin, which Andy and I had bypassed on a previous occasion due to high winds.

Rob and Andy on the crux fin of Dorsal Arete.

Rob and Andy on the crux fin of Dorsal Arete.

There was a dusting of fresh snow above about 800m as I drove through Glen Coe this morning, but this is likely to change through the day with freezing levels falling and snow forecast to lower levels.

 

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.

Stob Coire nan Lochan

I was out today with a Falkirk Community Trust Winter Climbing team of John, Gillian, Helen, Kate and Ken in Stob Coire nan Lochan, Glen Coe. We climbed Dorsal Arete in quite Alpine conditions; the fin was bare rock, but the rest of the route was climbed on good refrozen snow and the fin could be bypassed on snow if desired.

Gillian and Helen with John behind approaching the fin.

Gillian and Helen with John behind approaching the fin.

We then descended Broad Gully again on firm refrozen snow. There was sunshine most of the day in Glen Coe and no precipitation. A cloud inversion rolled in late in the day. Big easier gully lines are still intact in the coire, but most buttress routes are now very bare of snow and ice. I’ll add some photos to the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Stob Mhic Mhartuin, Mess of Pottage and SCNL

On Friday the lads from Ballachulish and I finished our winter mountaineering course by ascending Stob Mhic Mhartuin in Glencoe and then on the steep northerly aspect completed some training on abseiling in winter using bollards.

Tina, Scott, Steve, Martin and I met in the Cairngorm car park on Saturday morning with the hope of doing some winter climbing. We chose to go east rather than west to avoid the rain. We were rewarded with a dry day and two routes; Haston Line and Hidden Chimney (both are on the Mess of Pottage in Coire an t-Sneachda). Both routes were still holding good snow ice although this may be gone now.

We returned west on Saturday evening and on Sunday climbed Dorsal Arete in Stob Coire nan Lochan. The route still has lots of useable snow on it although the fin is now mostly dry.

There are lots more photos from the last week on the climbnow facebook page.

The team on SCNL.

The team on SCNL.

Dorsal Arete

Snow fell overnight to sea level in Glencoe. We walked into Stob Coire nan Lochan in sunshine. This quickly changed once we reached the coire to heavy snowfall and strong winds. The weather deteriorated throughout the day to whiteout conditions.

As well as looking at snow anchors today, we climbed Dorsal Arete. The snow on the route was in excellent condition. During our ascent we heard two large avalanches somewhere in the coire. Windslab was building throughout the day.

The cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan before the weather worsened.

The cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan before the weather worsened.

Zig Zags and Dinnertime Buttress

This week I am once more based in Ballachulish. Yesterday we climbed the Zig Zags in Glencoe looking at the skills required for guiding grade I before descending the route via down climbing and abseiling.

Today we climbed DInnertime Buttress before descending via Sob Coire nan Lochan. From late afternoon yesterday and right through the whole of today there has been a thaw in Glencoe. The turf however above 500 metres has remained frozen and large quantities of snow still remain. With the temperatures dropping tonight there should still be plenty to do tomorrow.

Chris on Dinnertime Buttress.

Chris on Dinnertime Buttress.

Zig Zags

I have been out today on the Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach. After lasts nights deep freeze the terrain was well frozen and heavily verglassed. Crampons were useful from the first ‘Zig’ upwards. We descended via Stob Coire nan Lochan. The crags were white.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

Walking towards SCNL.

Walking towards SCNL.