Saturday 30th January

Glorious day on Beinn Each, near Loch Lubnaig, today with a group from Adventure Edinburgh. We covered boot, axe and crampon work as part of a round trip to the summit.

Pretty much all the snow on the hill was firm, old and well consolidated, with just the odd dusting of fresh snow and thin layers of wind blown. Looking further north (e.g. Tarmachan) or east or higher (e.g. Stuc a’Chroin) there looked to be considerably more fresh snow. The ground was well frozen down to valley level and ice was forming in stream lines. There was no fresh snow during the day. The northerly winds were circa 20mph on the summit and out of the sun it was below freezing all day.

29th January Taxus Ice Fall Finish

I was out today with the Falkirk High Tops Team on Beinn an Dothaidh. We climbed Taxus with the Ice Fall finish. Taxus original is in great condition, however, the Ice Fall finish is a bit lean at the exit and hard for the grade. The buttress routes starting at higher altitudes are riming up nicely.

Michael and Fiona climbed Ritchies Gully on Creag Meagaidh but i do not have any details.

23rd to 25th January Southern Highlands and Glencoe


On saturday and sunday i was on Ben Ledi running courses for EICA Ratho and Walkrock looking at various skills such as ice axe braking and winter belays. The corrie was well frozen with heavy riming suggesting that venues such as Beinn and Dothaidh will be in good condition.

On sunday in Glencoe Neil and James climbed The Screen in good condition and No. 6 Gully which was begining to fall down rapidly.

Glenn headed into Stob Coire an Lochain on monday and climbed Raeburns Route. He reported excellent conditions with a lot of useful neve around. Photo courtesy of Glenn Gordon.

Thursday 21st January Drummochter Pass

Today i was out in the Drummochter Pass in the area around The Boar with EICA Ratho. We were doing some staff training on avalanche awareness. The ground was well frozen and there was heavy riming at all altitudes. There is still some good ski touring to be had from Blair Atholl northwards.

Wednesday 20th January 2010

Out on Ben Ledi with Nic, Euan, Glenn and Pamela doing a “symposium” on running Winter Skills Courses.

Soft snow from 500m; very hard crust above 700m, heavy rime forming on the rocks higher up. Turf a bit variable, but solid where exposed and higher up. Light snow falling during the day on a fresh south east wind.

Tuesday 19th January 2010

Out on the Buachaille today with Euan, Glenn and Pamela doing some short roping training. We went part way up Curved Ridge, then traversed across and came down around the Crowberry Gully area before heading back across to the Curved Ridge approach.

Turf was still frozen at crag height; plenty of old water/snow ice about and the snow higher up was consolidating nicely. Cold higher up with rime forming on the upper crags. No precipitation during the day.

Photo below of the water ice on the approach to Curved Ridge (apologies for the quality, it’s off my phone).image0321

Sunday 17th January Cruachan Horseshoe

Tha Falkirk High Tops Team and i were out today on the Cruahcan Horseshoe. It was raining at all levels but the turf was still frozen up high. Rocks were rimmed above 950m. Crampons were worn from the col at 820m on the way up and for the whole ridge as there is still large amounts of snow and ice around.

Friday 15th January 2010

Brief report from Nettle & Bill that they climbed the Grey Mare’s Tail today. They climbed the left hand side all the way. It’s definitely less there than it was and they didn’t think the right hand side of the 1st pitch was climbable now.

Thursday 14th January 2010

A glorious day up on Meall a’Bhuachaille, behind Glenmore Lodge, today. We had snow shoes, which avoided a lot of wading. The ski-ing looks excellent. The strong south-east winds of the last couple of days has lead to a lot of wind transportation of snow. We observed circa 40cm of hard wind pack sitting on a very weak layer of old surface hoar on top of the older snow. This was on a northerly aspect and worth considering when you’re making route choices. There was also plenty of evidence of avalanche activity from the last day or so.

Wednesday 13th January La Grave

I am currently in La Grave on a course with the British Mountain Guides and the European Avalanche School. Today we were touring at Le Chazelet. Snow cover was good with fresh powder on the aspects we were skiing. Last night it snowed 40cm at Alp d’Heuz.