Short respite

Today we have had a brief respite from the ghastly weather of late! However, a new weather front is closing in. The pictures from Spike Sellers  and Tom on Castle Ridge today. It’s interesting to see how quickly ice is trying to form as the temperatures fluctuate up and down. Any cold weather will bring ice back to what is a very damp mountain at the moment. Thanks Spike. Thanks also to Andy Ravenhill for the shots on Ledge Route with Norman and James. One other West Coast Mountain Guides team were out on Dorsal Arete, whilst another scurried off east to Coire an’t Sneachda.

Lean conditions

One team from West Coast Mountain Guides led by Kenny Grant, out on Tower Ridge today, reported lean conditions with only the easy gullies climbable. Tomorrow a wicked, strong depression is forecast to flow into the Scottish west coast, bringing heavy snow and hurricane force winds on the summits. Calmer condition are forecast later in the week.

More rain and high winds

Quite a depressing Christmas break so far, with loads of rain and strong winds. Much of the good ice and snow will have disappeared for the time being. Thank goodness for Turkey and Mince Pies. Best wishes to all of you who follow my blog and may happiness and good health follow you all into 2012.

A BIG thaw

Today the weather has cooled a lot after a few days of much warmer weather. Plenty of snow still remaining on the high mountains, but some ice will have disappeared. I have not visited the corries for a few days but would assume there is still plenty to climb.

Hi Alan,

Just a few pictures from today showing conditions 23rd December 2011. A short day out to the hut for a look after sorting out Christmas shopping this morning ! The snow just above the hut was starting to consolidate with an icy crust.

Large cornices were noted above the Trident Buttress and Coire na Ciste.

Have a good Christmas.


Phill Thompson

Great Ice on Nevis

Today on Ben Nevis the conditions ‘looked’ pretty good. especially the ice routes in various places. A few teams out climbing on Tower Ridge and Ledge Route. According to one rope, they tried to climb Number Three Gully but thought better of it as the snow slopes appeared to be heavily loaded with new snow. They retreated, wise move I’d say. The weather is unfortunately set to get much milder and this will increase the avalanche hazard considerably. However, this start to the winter is one of the best I can recall, especially the amount of ice that is around on Nevis. Ice takes a while to melt out, so fingers crossed some is still in place after this thaw period coming up.

Deep Snow in the Lake District

Hi Alan, Thought I would send you a short report from the Lakes yesterday. Feel free to use it if you like. Pete, Mark and I headed to Brown Crags on Helvellyn. This was to be Marks first winter route so we opted for Left Buttress, a grade II mountaineering route. Lots of unconsolidated snow on the route and rather poor visibility but given the nature of the ground you could pretty much pick your line. Overall a great day and quite Scottish in nature given the weather. Likely we are going to lose lots of snow next week though.

Speak soon



Thanks for this report Gavin.

Smiler got his axe back

Thanks to Bill Strachan Smiler got his axe back. Thanks Bill. It may be an old model from Mountain Technology but it no doubt carries fond memories for Smiler and us elder brethren need all the help we can  get! Now to other matters. Today the weather is as good as it gets in fort William and crampons are required to safely walk into town, unless of course the council get their act together on our road to the new flats. The view from our house is great as will be seen in these two pictures. I’m on the hill the next couple of days so hopefully the fine weather will continue. Plenty of space in the bunkhouse and we have a load of new leather hire boots in stock (B2) plus axes and crampons and helmets.


Very good weather Lost Axe Great ski-ing

Very calm and frosty weather with freezing down to sea-level and generally clear skies today around Ben Nevis. A friend and work colleague ‘Smiler’ Cuthbertson mislaid and axe in the Cairngorm car park yesterday. If you find it and need details of where to send it, check his blog.


Hi Alan.

Heres a couple of photos from yesterday on Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuill above Glen Dochart. Excellent snow conditions for skiing. We walked for about 20 mins before putting the skis on, then skiied all day. Hard work walking with alot of breakable crust from the guys we spoke to.

photo-1 is me and Ali on Sgiath Chuil loooking west to Meall Glas

photo-1 is Damon Powell skinning up Meall Glas.

Thanks for the work have a good Christmas with the family



More Snow and Sun

A quick trip to Keswick for a meeting on the Chris Walker Trust coincided with some good winter weather and a chance for some roadside photography. Plenty of happy hillwalkers making the most of the day. Ben Lomond was looking great on the drive home. Anyone heading to the Alps, by all accounts a category five avalanche warning posted in Valorcine just north of Chamonix after a heavy snow fall, followed by rain. A good weekend forecast in Scotland, with  milder weather approaching next week.

Poor Weather

Another weather ‘bomb’ hit Fort William today. Part of the roof of the CIC Hut has been blown off. Various blogs with photos showing the damage. Just Google <CIC Hut roof blown off> should work!  Loads of new snow falling above 600 metres. Thursday looks a better day and possibly into the weekend and early next week.