I have had a productive four days with the Joint Services. After climbing the Zig Zags on Monday we visited Aonach Dubh on Tuesday were we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, lots of snow and fully rimed.
Yesterday we visited the Cobbler and climbed Chockstone Gully and Maclays Crack. Both routes were very white and fully frozen.
Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress. The route was very white and fully frozen. We climbed the chimney version of the route today which was probably grade II/III.
During the four days we have seen no other climbers.
This week I am based at Ballachulish. On Sunday the lads and I climbed Zig Zags before traversing Gearr Aonach and dropping back into the Glen via SCNL. The route was in good condition. Rapid transportation of snow was taking place with large areas of windslab and cornices quickly building.
We have been over in the Cairngorms for the last two days. Yesterday we visited the Southern Sector of Lurchers Crag. After descending South Gully we climbed Pinnacle Ridge. The mixed routes were in good condition being scoured and the turf well frozen.
Today, the ski road was not open. Therefore, we walked from the snowgate to Ciste Crag where we climbed a route at about III 5. A number of teams appeared behind us later in the day and enjoyed a number of different lines on the crag. The turf was frozen and after last nights weather the crag was holding a good quantity of snow.
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.
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.
This week I am based in Glencoe and will be travelling to Lochaber and the Arrochar Alps as well as climbing in the Glen.
On Monday with my team, I completed the Zig Zags before returning to the West Face of Aonach Mor on Tuesday to repeat Western Rib which I climbed last Friday. The turf has become much more frozen since Friday. The route has large quantities of snow on it creating interesting snow aretes.
Today with the lads I visited Stob Coire Nan Lochan where we climbed Dorsal Arete. The route is very, very white as are all the other buttresses. Hard mixed routes will currently be time consuming.
There is currently large amounts of powder snow in the West Highlands which would be great for skiing.
Yesterday morning I drove from South Queensferry to Glencoe. This took five hours including two hours stuck in the snow on the A82 in Glencoe. This hopefully gives a good idea of how much new snow has arrived in the area over the last couple of days.
Once I arrived in Glencoe I met the team and headed out to the Zig-Zags on Gearr Aonach. We climbed and descended the route looking at short roping and abseiling skills. The route was a popular option with quite a few teams around trying to avoid the worst of the weather by staying at lower altitudes.
Today I have been out on Stob Mhic Mhartuin looking at winter skills such as ice axe arrest and emergency snow shelters. There is a lot of new snow around making movement time consuming and significant wind transportation increasing the avalanche risk on certain aspects.
Unfortunately my camera broke on Sunday and so my blog posts will be without photos until the weekend.
I have been back out today in Glencoe. We made an ascent of the Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach. The first ‘zig’ did not require axe and crampons but they were useful after this.
We continued along the ridge before using a steep gully line to look at snow anchors. The day was finished by traversing into Stob Coire nan Lochan and descending back to the bus.
The snow was wet and heavy at all levels. During the day there was a mixture of snow, rain and sleet at all levels. The buttresses of SCNL are very white.