Dull Day out West

Happy Hooker

Coire an-t Sneachda

Hi Alan,

Adam and I had a good day on Honey pot IV,6 in Coire ant’Sneachta yesterday. Route choice is important in Sneachta at the moment because some buttresses are bare and some easier gullies have big cornices.

On Honeypot the rock was shining through a bit at the beginning but higher up it was all white. The snow was mostly sugary and unhelpful so you have to go through and find the essential torques and hooks for the more strenuous moves. The crux is a square cut chimney with some very well protected tech 6 moves.

Photos attached.

Best wishes, Henning

Dorsal Arete

Garadh Gully was in good nick today on Ben Nevis. Some noises from stuff falling down in the misty corrie! Morwind and Left Twin were in good shape on Aonach Mor. The forecast for tomorrow has improved slightly. Another team just in from Stob Coire nan Lochan says that it is …”more winter than summer up there”…So that is a good sign! They climbed Dorsal Arete as can be seen in the photo. Thanks to Nigel Hooker for the picture.

Another group went onto Stob Ban for some easy gully climbing and came back smiling.

Happy Andean Folk

More pictures from my slide show in the Mountain Festival. on 21st February at Lime Tree. The prize draw on this evening will be some free lifts up the Ben Nevis track. All proceeds going to the Mountain Festival. Check it out folks.

Aonach Mor below Easy Gully

Hi Alan

Just returned to Bournemouth from my annual foray north of the Border. Rather a dull week after an exciting trip up. The blizzards across the land seem a long time ago now, and the snow cleared off the hills quickly. Still, we managed to get some things done and had a good week as usual.

Surprised to find Aonach Mor almost deserted last Friday apart from numerous mountain school parties. Attached is a photo of John Cooke and Roz Kendall just below Easy Gully, taken with a Konica Minolta Dimage A200. Snow was rather soft and sugary then but no doubt has improved since.
Philip Santo

A very good Weekend

Aonach Mor - 18th February

What a stonking weekend! Aonach Mor fantastic on both Saturday and Sunday; remarkably empty today – was everyone on the Ben? Unfortunately, a bloke called Al from Edinburgh took a massive peel off the cornice above Maneater last night and both dislocated his shoulder and broke his right arm. However, we got him down and he was able to walk off by the Climbers’ Col, so not too bad! Pictures of Aquafresh and White Shark attached. Taken on an Olympus Mu 600.


Ben Nevis was ‘hoochin’ with cars backed up to the traffic lights at the North Face Car Park. It’s about time we started an effort to open up the access track for vehicles to the Allt a’ Mhuilinn! Have any of you got the timne and enthusiasm for such a project?

Unfortunately the week ahead looks mild at the moment, so it will be high ridges in the rain maybe. Certainly a mild spell will strip the crags rather more than we want. Never mind, still a lot of winter left yet.

Mt Cook - NZ

More pictures from my slide show in the Mountain Festival. on 21st February at Lime Tree. The prize draw on this evening will be some free lifts up the Ben Nevis track. All proceeds going to the Mountain Festival. Check it out folks.

Sunny Day – Frosty Night

Back Corries Aonach Mor - 17th February

A great day in Fort William and the snow was nice and firm up the hill, Tonight we have a good clear frosty night, so tomorrow looks very promising. The snow level is high up the hill, but as can be seen from the picture in the back corries of Aonach Mor, large expanses are still hanging in.

Denali from Wonder Lake

More pictures from my slide show in the Mountain Festival. on 21st February at Lime Tree. The prize draw on this evening will be some free lifts up the Ben Nevis track. All proceeds going to the Mountain Festival. Check it out folks.

Warmer and Cloudy but Cooler this weekend hopefully

Hi Alan,

Not a mountain report I’m afraid just a grateful word from a Scottish winter enthusiast suffering from withdrawal symptoms in Baghdad.Coming to the end of a long 7 months in this s…t hole and the only thing that has kept me sane is logging on to your blog as often as I can to catch up with what you lucky b*****ds have been doing on the hill this season.Not back until late March by which time no doubt all the white stuff will be gone!
Maybe next year…….

‘Envious’ of Baghdad

Thanks for that. I’m sure we all wish you did not have to be in Iraq doing what you are doing. My own opinion is that the west has for too long, tried to ‘kick’ too many nations globally into our way of doing things, that we are now reaping the rewards! That’s not to say we should ignore human rights, far from it. Just that we should also respect other religions and attitudes and cultures. We must try and live together in harmony, but history shows that our leaders and politicians are not capable of achieving this. During the last few centuries, reactions from global ‘colonialism’ have expanded from defending cultures with blow-pipes to high-jacking and using aircraft as bombs. Nothing has changed apart from the weapons and technology used to react against unwanted intrusions into other nations way of life. Naive, me, no chance!

Hello Alan,
Just a quick note to say that went up toward Stob Ghabhar today (16th) with the aim of a gully climb. No luck, what snow remains is wet slush and thawing from the ground/rock outwards.
If we get a freeze back in time, there may be some worthy gullies in the area of Coire an Lochan but way too warm just now. No pictures as it really wasn’t worth taking any in the mist and rain.
N Bryan

Windy and Wet

Right Twin on Monday
Aonach Mor Crevasses

Might be a bit late Alan but the pics are quite good.

Had a good day on Monday on Aonach Mor. Climbed Right Twin, hard snow covered with thin powder and where it had formed excellent ice. The crag was busy and conditions generally good except for a large build up of powder along the base of the crags. The cornices have shrunk back and seemed stable but it goes without saying that caution is still required. Nick Bryan took the two pics I have sent you the first looking down the first narrow cooridor of Right Twin the second showing an unfortunate soul, me, requiring crevasse rescue on the way home.

Ross Nicol, Dundee

Happy Valentine – Red Letter Day out West

Ice climbing below the CIC Hut

Another fine and dandy day on Ben Nevis. Plenty of action in all the right places before the weather breaks tomorrow. The photo above shows the ice formations to the right of the Organ Pipes below the CIC Hut. A good location to practice ice climbing techniques only forty-five minutes from the van, if you have a key to the track that is:-)

Number Three Gully Buttress

Thanks to Tim. For the picture of Number Three Gully Buttress today.


More pictures from my slide show in the Mountain Festival. on 21st February at Lime Tree. The prize draw on this evening will be some free lifts up the Ben Nevis track. All proceeds going to the Mountain Festival. Check it out folks.

Plenty of Good Ice

Josh and Morgan topping out
Another fine day out for the guys and gals. Not so sunny as yesterday and the freezing level was a wee bitty higher than yesterday. All the same the conditions are still good and another team who gate-crashed the Calluna kitchen this evening had been cruising on Smith’s Route on Gardyloo Buttress with some success. Still plenty to go for.
Lotus Flower Tower
The photo of The Lotus Flower Tower is taken from my slide show for 21st February at Lime Tree Studio in Fort William during the Mountain Festival.

Another Capital Day!!

Tower Scoop 12th February

Linda on the summit 11th February

A very good day today with plenty of action in various places. It was not too windy and in the afternoon the clouds parted to reveal splendid views all round.Some teams still out enjoying the night-life on Ben Nevis, due to twisted ankles! Indicator Wall, Left Twin and Comb Gully, all on the west coast menu today. One client (Gaston) from Marseille thought the Ben was just great and the way off superb.

Comb Gully 12th February
Another team on Comb Gully found good conditions as can be see in the photo from Matt & Nigel. Thanks lads.

Thanks to Paul for the photo of Tower Scoop today. Well done Gaston and David on Indicator Wall. Very fat ice just now. Teams out on Smith’s, which is also looking good. Point Five and Good Friday Climb were busy.

12th February

Baffin Island

The photo of Baffin Island is taken from my slide show for 21st February at Lime Tree Studio in Fort William during the Mountain Festival.

Less Windy still snowing

Bowfell 10th February
A better day today, but pretty murky on the tops. Still cold, but it looks like some poor weather by Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks to Mark Frow for the picture of Bowfell yesterday.

Wild Windy and Winter

Ben Nevis

Hi Alan

The attached picture was taken on Wednesday afternoon form the top of Binnein Mor, using an Olympus u1000.To be in the mountains of Scotland in such perfect conditions is no act of chance. Watch the weather forecast do not dither, and go for it. I set out at 4:00 from Preston And was on top of Sgorr Dhearg at 13:00pm. Thanks for the brew. TOM.

Left Twin 8th February

Left Twin, showing Jamie from the Ice Factor cruising outside for a change!

Helvellyn yesterday

Thanks to Tom for the picture of Helvellyn yesterday. This guy gets around!

Nanda Devi 21st February Mountain Festival

Very windy today on the hills. So much so that people were being blown over and not making very good progress. A fairly large group appeared to be drawn to Garadh Gully on Ben Nevis, which must have created a few queues, ice bombs and curses! One team managed Moonlight Gully and another bailed from the fin on Dorsal Arete, into Broad Gully in the face of very strong winds.

Some reports coming in show that the very strong winds are stripping off the new snow from the high cliffs. This is both west and east Scotland. The ice is still building in the west. Another report from Beinn Udlaidh said that it was not too good, although the report came from people who did not see the higher cliffs. Any more news from Glen Orchy would be appreciated.

The forecast for the week ahead
suggests milder weather towards the end of the week. Before then we may get some westerly and north-westerlies. This will bring more snow to the western hill with any luck. Over the last week we have had some very dry, cold weather around Fort William, whilst the rest of Britain has suffered under some heavy snow. This was all due to the easterly airflow. We never get anything but sunshine and dry weather off of easterly winds!

Check out the Mountain Festival programme for 21st February. From 16th February to 3rd March Amongst all the other really excellent days and evenings I will be putting together an evening on 21st February to include some detail on Nanda Devi.

By the way your ecofascist-correspondent needs to consider. People who smoke, virtually, are saying, “I will not listen. I am going to smoke even though I shall most likely make myself ill. To hell with it, you can pay for me.’ Ignoring Climate Change is in the same ball park.” You can quote me if you like, and refer him to www.kare-uk.org for an example of the complexity and dangers of the situation as applied to Dungeness. By the way I wrote it in the mid nineties. Now
some people locally are beginning to take note.
Do I sound as if I am getting a bit hot under the collar. You bet I am, especially when I play with my great grandson.

Never mind, at least we beat Australia a second time.

Love to you and yours from A and me.

Hello Alan.

something a little more positive, took a wander up Beinn Udlaidh to see if there was anything doing and also try and find something sheltered from the wind.

success on both counts with Quartzvein Scoop in reasonably good condition and no wind in that corner-at least until the top!

a few other parties in the corrie climbing West Gully, Zigzag Gully and maybe South Gully of Black Wall, someone also backed off steep icefall to right of Quartzvein (unsure of route). unable to comment on condition of these or other routes as visibility was poor. Ice Crew also looked good if a little lean at bottom.

Could do with some more freeze thaw and it would all be very good.

thanks Bob