This last couple of weeks has been very productive. On behalf of West coast Mountain Guides, many climbs from Cogne to Creag Meagaidh have been completed. Point Five Gully – Orion Face Direct – Hadrian’s Wall Direct – Vanishing Gully – Italian R-Hand – Tower Ridge – The Pumpkin – Last Post – Diadem – The Wand and a host of easier climbs on Anoach Mor and Glen Coe. Thanks to Spike Sellers, Chris Thorne, Bruce Poll, Chris Ensoll, Mark Chadwick and Nick Carter, the instructors/guides. Today it is still snowing on the top of the high peaks and conditions are very good. This next week looks set for similar cold conditions, so head north and west for the best ice in the UK!
Another CIC Hut course is booked for 17/22nd March and has two spaces left. Valley based introductory – intermediate winter climbing courses are also available. Join the fun:)
Chris Thorne and Paul Cook climbed the Pumpkin and the Wand today, both in good condition.
Conditions on Nevis are also still very good, but the strength of the wind was turning some folk back today. Stob Coire nan Lochan classics are still okay.
Rain for the first time in a couple of weeks in Fort William
Short walk in, thick ice, pairs climbing parallel on wide smears in the sunshine, abseil descents. The guys are having a break from Scotland this year and loving the climbing, cuisine and wine offered by our Italian hosts. The only thing missing is the sunset views out to sea. Bruce Poll and Chris Ensoll with Mike Anderson and team ( the doctors of wind)
And on Sunday 3rd March:
More sunshine in Cogne and a rapidly increasing temperature through the morning which caused some interesting and thought provoking snow slides from the sun exposed aspects. This made us run away and go for an entertaining and energetic cross country ski in the afternoon on the excellent trails under the climbing cliffs. Mike went leashless today and still has two axes. Jerry (aka Kermit the frog) was spotted on the cross country trails, see attached photo.
From my Japanese correspondent: Heavy snowfall has made dangerous cornice upon roof at the foot of Mt IWAKI-SAN in AOMORI-Prefecture JAPAN. Local people are struggling and surviving in the heavy snowfall area.
Closer to home: Introductory mountaineering course at the weekend and with all the sun and blue skies we went looking for some quieter hills rather than the usual busy weekend haunts.
Central Gully on Bidean, the birthplace of Winter climbing in Glen Coe, courtesy of Norman Collie was untracked and the deep cleft running up the side of Church Door Buttress was very atmospheric. Its always good to finish a route on a summit too. Sunday took us to the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn, again quiet and in a beautiful setting, a great route for learning the ropes of winter mountaineering.
Back in Scotland from Bournemouth after a year’s break, and what fantastic conditions to come back to. Crisp neve from bottom to top at Creag Meagaidh today (21st Feb) with several parties out but feeling almost deserted. Hope you enjoy the two pictures, firstly testing the ice at the bottom of South Post Direct – verdict: bombproof – and secondly an unknown party topping out into the sun on North Pillar.
Thanks for that Philip. Still sunny today.
And again from Bruce Poll yesterday:
Conditions now very cold at all altitudes on the west, not much ice is dripping any more and the Allt a Mhuillin is freezing over.
The Curtain was climbed delicately and precisely on its first pitch before beefy ice to the top. Orion had a steady stream all day, as did Point 5. Comb, Green Gully, White Line, Tower Ridge, Vanishing, Jubilation, Two Step Corner (big cornice exit). There are plenty more routes in great nick. We were performance coaching today on some steep ice and mixed rock above the CIC hut.
There is photo attached of the top of Neptune if you want it for your blog , very good ice and snow.
I hope you’re enjoying the blue skies too? I was working on the Ben today on Jubilee Climb, as you’ll see on these pics. There’s a bonus ice fall high up on the left near the finish. We dropped a silver DMM Fly hammer near there. I think I saw it come to a rest somewhere above the lower ice pitches. If any of your blog readers do that climb soon – and I certainly recommend it; nice ledges cut at belays too – then it’d be great to reunite the hammer with its owner.
And from Bruce Poll:
Meagy inner corrie today and pretty much all the routes looked climbable, and most ended up with a party on at some point. The Wand looked the best line in shape, we climbed Pumpkin which has seen a lot of ascents recently and some good rock belays. Quiet compared to the Ben this week. Last Post had a team on it too.
From Bruce Poll:
Another busy day on Tower Ridge by the look of it this afternoon. Conditions seem to be getting cooler up high, as well as the valley. The temperature inversion feels like its lifting. Ropes and gloves stayed dry all day, a rare treat!We climbed Zero in excellent condition and traversed back round the CMD to enjoy the sunshine. The arete is very snowy just now with a good track across the top. 3 teams were on Orion, the same on Point 5, they are also great. Several teams were heading up Gardyloo, parties on Tower Scoop, several more did Hadrian’s Direct. More folk in Green Gully. Thanks to Spike Sellers for the Nevis photos.
And from Roy Starkey:
We had a superb day on Snowdon yesterday (Monday 18th Feb) – Alpine conditions with wall to wall sunshine and blue skies with stunning visibility above a slightly hazy inversion lower down. Winter conditions remain on the mountain above about 2500 feet and most people we met were properly equipped with crampons and axes. Our route took us on a circuit form the car park at Pen-y-Pass up to Llyn Llydaw, round to the south over Y- Lliwedd and up the ridge to the summit before returning via the Pyg track. As we were leaving the car park about 6pm we stopped to give a lift to a guy we had met on the way round, and had gone back up to solo Central Trinity where the snow was reported to be in good nick.
From Andy Ravenhill on the West Face of Aonach Mor:
We had a truly alpine day on golden oldie today makes a change to be in the sun climbing superb snow. Ridge thin on the bottom but the ridge section was excellent. Loads of ice about as well in the gullies. Also teams on western rib which looks good photo sent separately.
Very fine weather at the moment, with overnight frosts. Tower Ridge is very busy by all accounts. Creag Meagaidh and Last Post were awesome according to Bruce Poll. Thanks to Andy Ravenhill for the shot of The Great Tower.
This comment from Bruce Poll:
…”Stunning weather after the storms of last week. The recent warm temperatures have given way to cold and clear nights with an Alpinesque feel to the air and frozen snow generally across the mountains. The last few days we have climbed on the Ben: Hadrian’s, Orion Directissima to the basin, Smith Holt exit from the basin, the top of NE Buttress (where I have never climbed the ManTrap on pure snow and ice for over 20 years, not for the faint hearted); Last Post on Meagy (stunning)………and the rest of the week’s weather promises the same. There are still a few droopy cornices about that are getting the sun at certain times of the day!
For those who keep on trying, when Scotland delivers on the weather, it is so worth waiting for. Enjoy”….
Thanks to Scott Kirkhope and Andy Ravenhill for these shots taken today. Scott Climbed Central Gully R-Hand and reported mixed conditions in places. Central Gully L-Hand was climbed in much better shape. Orion Face Direct and Hadrian’s Wall were both climbed and reported to be reasonable. The conditions should improve even more as the colder weather moves in.
Anyone who finds an ice screw on Green Gully, one of our guests dropped it today and would be very grateful if it was returned!