Great weather and conditions over the last few days. ‘Probes’ have been out on Hadrian’s Wall – Point Five – Zero – Minus Two Gully(?). The first three routes look very complete. Orion Face is looking good in places, but thin around the Second Slab Rib, from a distance. No action in Coire na Ciste, as climbers avoid the awful approach conditions underfoot. Deep unconsolidated snow with a nasty surface crust forming. We noticed an avalanche which slid off of the approach to Douglas Gap, East Gully, two days ago. We were roping down after ascending S.W.Ridge of Douglas Boulder. That ridge is a very ‘sporting’ mixed grade III and probably worth a few more stars I think. A number of pretty awkward moves with reasonable protection. Take a large sling for rapping-off the top of the Boulder into Douglas Gap. Plenty of action on Vanishing Gully and all of the routes between it and Douglas Boulder. Short approaches and fairly easy descents on rappel.
Yesterday Shield Direct was climbed again. Don’t be fooled by the photo on the cover of SMC-Scottish Winter Climbs guidebook. It’s nothing like that at the moment! We noticed climbers sniffing around the foot of The Shroud and Harrison’s Climb. Also, Mega Route X looks as if it might repay inspection. Also teams out on the North Face of Castle Ridge. Lots to look at folks.
Yesterday I had a very calm and sociable day on The Curtain, where five people managed to use the first belay at the cave for security. Don’t get too close behind the person in front and make sure no leaders are above you before climbing! The day out on S.W Ridge of The Douglas Boulder on Tuesday was much more rugged, with strong, cold winds forcing us to shelter for a long time with friends in the hut drinking tea, before our conscience and improving weather encouraged us out. It was a fine afternoon, but the winds continued to freeze our ‘butts’!
Today we have milder weather, which should not damage the ice much, in fact some dripping ice will build better conditions if the cold returns.