Be Avalanche Aware

Be avalanche aware folks. Lots of snow and strong winds about at the moment. If it calms down towards Easter a lot of slides might be triggered by the unwary. Ice climbing on Ben Nevis is very good at the minute, BUT, approaches and exits from routes are seriuosly effected by avalanche hazard.

Tower Scoop and Smith’s Route

More of the good climbing on Ben Nevis last week. Check out Tower Scoop and Smith’s Route. Yesterday was very good and teams were out in Glen Coe on Twisting and S.C. – N.C. Gullies, reporting good conditions. Today is more unsettled and snow is falling below 600 metres. Avalanche accident on Ben Nevis yesterday so be aware.

Green Gully

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

Left Twin

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.

Abseiling into Left Twin

Abseiling into Left Twin


Avalanche, the gung-ho human factor

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

BIG thaw

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.

Ben Nevis weather

The next week’s weather

Hut costs on the Matterhorn

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.

Hornli Hut


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.

West Greenland

Anyone interested in ski and sail on the Alpine Peaks of West Greenland should visit this site