27th and 28th January

Saturday I was running an Intro to winter mountaineering with Dermot, Peter and Rushden we climbed Nc gully in Stob coire nan Lochain noticing some wet snow sloughs from that area of the coire and avoiding the drooping cornices.
Sunday we climbed the East ridge of Beinn a Choarainn and the lads quickly picked up the technique of effecienctly moving together.
The snow coverege is holding well in high north east facing corries but is being stripped by the warm winds and rain elsewhere.

28th January

Mclaurin and i were out today with the Falkirk High Tops team on Meall Nan Tarmachan refreshing winter skills and looking at some new skills such as digging various types of avalanche pits.  There is still plenty of snow present but thawing all day.  Accumulations greater than 2 metres in some gullys and sheltered locations.

27th January

I had a big day out today on Lochnagar with Ian and Steve.  We climbed Shaddow Buttress A.  This is a three star classic with varied climbing and a fine technical crux.  The route probably warrants III 5 in normal conditions.  The first two pitches to the overhangs were a bit wet but after this the turf and snow were both good.  From the crux onward the crag is heavily rimed so gear is not very obvious.

Other teams were on routes such as Central Buttress and Eagle Ridge.  Some routes had very scary looking cornices hanging over them.

26th Janurary

This week has shown that Scottish Winter Climbing can be the best in Europe.
I met a swiss couple from Grindelwald who had cancelled their climbing trip to Kandersteg in favour of the Ben due to the poor conditions in Europe.
Euan has updated the site for Monday regarding Scabbard chimney.
I returned to Stob Coire Nan Lochain to climb Moonshadow with Gregor Imrie and Alan Crombie.
This route takes the right hand start of twisting gully and continues up the wall on the right into a chimney and on to the top.
We all agreed the crux was the right hand start of the gully the route has some great climbing and the new grade of IV5 feels more realistic than the old grade of III.
Gregor and I climbed the North east buttress on the Ben the route was plastered in plastic ice and Gregor climbed a beautiful all be it short pitch of steep ice before the big snowfield.
The mantrap lived up to its name we both had a go at it before it gave up the fight.
Resisting the urge to follow the footprints which bypass it we clipped the pegs and battle commenced, a little more ice on top of it would make it a lot easier.
The forty foot corner was covered in great snow ice and proved relatively straightforward.
Overall the route is in easy but bold condition as clearing snow for runners would be time consuming.
I teamed up with new route activist James Edwards to look at a few unclimbed lines on the Shelter Stone check his blog page for
photos and description.

24th January

Damo, Mark and i headed to Beinn an Dothaidh today and climbed The Skraeling.  The turf was mostly very good with the odd softer patch.  There were useful areas of ice about also.  At the exit of the route there where pockets of 4 inches of hard slab lying over 3 inches of powder sitting over the base.

The gully lines appear to contain a lot of powder and small slides were visible in West gully.  Taxus direct finish was not very icy.  Gully lines probably best avoided at the moment but buttresses providing good sport.

I heard from Paul last night who had just climbed North East Buttress on the Ben.  He had found good neve most of the way apart from on the mantrap which is climbing at V 6.

22nd January

Today Paul, Damo, Mark and i headed to the west coast.  Paul, Damo and i climbed Scabbard Chimney.  Other teams were on Dorsal Arete, Moonshadow, Original Route and Twisting Gully.  Teams were reporting well frozen turf, and a lot of good neve present on the buttress routes.  The easier snow gullies are holding a lot of powder.

Mark did three munros in the Ben Starav area.  The road down Glen Etive is icy in places and requires care.  Mark found all snow types throughout the day from areas of waist deep powder to good neve.

21st January

Out walking today in the Northern Cairngorms today with the Falkirk High Tops Team.  The turf is still well frozen above 600 metres.  The footpaths have a lethal layer of ice on them which is covered in a thin layer of snow.  The visibility was poor with heavy snow showers throughout the day.

19th January

Just back from the Northern Corries where I was climbing with Dameon. The turf was frozen and there is loose dry snow on the buttresses. Some of the cracks are verglassed making gear placements awkward. Pockets of slab have formed in sheltered locations in the corries.  Begun to snow during the afternoon and the wind speed increased.  This will add to the pockets of slab.

8th January 2007

Clmbing today on the west face of Aonach Mor.  Lots of snow around but unfortunately the turf is not frozen.  We then visited the east face.  Large cornices hang over the exit slopes and there is lots of unstable snow at the tops of the gullies.