Starting to put together some footage of the last two weeks. The weather remains very good and looks like continuing into the first week in April at least. The ice, high on Nevis is in perfect ‘nick’. Check out Green Gully
Had a great day out yesterday introducing Paul Boggis to the East Face of Aonach Mor with his pal and fellow instructor Dave Fisher.Both these guys are heading towards the Mountaineering Instructors award in the future. We abseiled in off of a big strong bollard (multi-directional ??), as the posts are either buried or gone. The cornice are still fairly considerable, so you do need to know where to start. Conditions were very good, although after the recent big thaw the ice was fairly porous. Screws for protection were possible on the right wall and the first pitch is banked out.
We abseiled in because we were not happy with going down Easy Gully and traversing the big slope to the foot of the route with a ‘Considerable’ avalanche forecast. Abseiling straight down the route is only an option if no other parties are on the climb. If the climb is busy, it should be possible to abseil off to the south side. Take two 60 metre ropes and some ‘Tat’, in case you cannot locate the insitu gear.
Hear is a short video of the route yesterday.
Read this link and be aware of where you climb. Just because others have climbed a route, it does not make it safe.
Try this one as well. Go cautiously. Modern kit helps to go harder and higher and quicker, but experience is a long road to safety. It’s not gained by by a few trips to snowy mountains. Already this winter two climbers tried to ascend Point Five Gully as their first route and had an accident. Fortunately not a serious one
A BIG thaw is taking place, but not shifting too many routes. Tonight might make a difference, with 91mm of rain forecast for Glen Coe. LOTS of debris below all major gullies today. Cornice collapse is a serious and deadly hazard at the moment. These photos were taken today (6.3.15). The one shot of climbing is a blast from the past from Greg Care on Mega Route X. We have it so easy these days with fancy gear. Check out the curved picks and also the spare axe carried.
Looks like the Italian side of the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa peaks will be busier this summer, unless of course you are very wealthy.
This link shows an ongoing struggle between warm and cold air over UK for the next ten days, with the cold possibly edging it. When the high pressure can dominate and bring easterly quarter breezes, the ice climbing should be okay. Fingers crossed! Monsoon weather over the next few days though.
Anyone interested in ski and sail on the Alpine Peaks of West Greenland should visit this site
Had a great day out yesterday with Spike Sellers and Adele Pennington on Mega Route X. The weather was not the best but we gained shelter from the wind at least, although the spindrift proved a nuisance! With the easterly aspect and so much snow and wind, we tested the slopes on a rope on both approach and descent for potential avalanche risks. Today (2nd March) another two teams at least climbed the route. One of the teams were hit by an avalanche on the approach slopes, which had come from above in the Central Trident area. It did not trigger the slope they were on though, thankfully. No injuries though, as far as I know. The route has been kicked around a lot and the thin ice curtain at the start of the crux moves on the first pitch could do with some more freezing material, although it is still possible to climb. Yesterday the ice was very good and first time placements most of the way. Thanks for leading the first pitch Spike and for the video footage
Recent days have seen loads of action on Ben Nevis, with plenty of big routes being climbed. As predicted a couple of months ago this winter is proving to be superb for ice climbing. The avalanche hazard is continually changing, so NEVER be complacent when choosing your lines to climb. Pockets of danger are EVER PRESENT. The CIC Hut has seen a steady stream of good foreign climbers, many led by mountain guides. They come back time and time again to sample what is special about Scottish climbing and in particular Ben Nevis. Check this video by Serge Bazin to confirm how masochistic all climbers are when it comes to enjoyment. Mild and wet weather last night may have effected some of the lower routes, but colder winds are again incoming. Be well:)