Plenty of new snow has fallen on the high tops and well below 600 metres. The weather is fine though, if rather windy. There are plenty of beds free in the CIC Hut next week so contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. I have space on a winter mountaineering course over the Easter break if anyone is looking for a spot of informative adventure at grade I/II level.
Today it rained until around lunchtime. This was turning to snow on the tops and a fair amount fell to below the CIC Hut. Conditions are still good on Ben Nevis and surrounding hills, although the avalanche hazard has now risen. The weekend looks set to be reasonable, with not too much wind and we have plenty of spare accommodation if you fancy a last minute visit.
John and I visited Creag Meagaidh again. Icefall of The Wand reminded me of French film Parapluit de Cherbourg(:Umbrella of Cherbourg) and American actress Marilyn Monro.
Thanks to Dave Barker for the photos on South Post Direct and Tower Ridge taken earlier this week (Tues/Wed). Today we have had some rain, but not too much and it’s snowing again high up. The first time in a few weeks that a ‘Considerable’ avalanche forecast has been posted by SAIS. It looks set to remain cold on the tops and good conditions continue.
This last couple of weeks has been very productive. On behalf of West coast Mountain Guides, many climbs from Cogne to Creag Meagaidh have been completed. Point Five Gully – Orion Face Direct – Hadrian’s Wall Direct – Vanishing Gully – Italian R-Hand – Tower Ridge – The Pumpkin – Last Post – Diadem – The Wand and a host of easier climbs on Anoach Mor and Glen Coe. Thanks to Spike Sellers, Chris Thorne, Bruce Poll, Chris Ensoll, Mark Chadwick and Nick Carter, the instructors/guides. Today it is still snowing on the top of the high peaks and conditions are very good. This next week looks set for similar cold conditions, so head north and west for the best ice in the UK!
Another CIC Hut course is booked for 17/22nd March and has two spaces left. Valley based introductory – intermediate winter climbing courses are also available. Join the fun:)
Chris Thorne and Paul Cook climbed the Pumpkin and the Wand today, both in good condition.
Conditions on Nevis are also still very good, but the strength of the wind was turning some folk back today. Stob Coire nan Lochan classics are still okay.
Rain for the first time in a couple of weeks in Fort William
Short walk in, thick ice, pairs climbing parallel on wide smears in the sunshine, abseil descents. The guys are having a break from Scotland this year and loving the climbing, cuisine and wine offered by our Italian hosts. The only thing missing is the sunset views out to sea. Bruce Poll and Chris Ensoll with Mike Anderson and team ( the doctors of wind)
And on Sunday 3rd March:
More sunshine in Cogne and a rapidly increasing temperature through the morning which caused some interesting and thought provoking snow slides from the sun exposed aspects. This made us run away and go for an entertaining and energetic cross country ski in the afternoon on the excellent trails under the climbing cliffs. Mike went leashless today and still has two axes. Jerry (aka Kermit the frog) was spotted on the cross country trails, see attached photo.
From my Japanese correspondent: Heavy snowfall has made dangerous cornice upon roof at the foot of Mt IWAKI-SAN in AOMORI-Prefecture JAPAN. Local people are struggling and surviving in the heavy snowfall area.
Closer to home: Introductory mountaineering course at the weekend and with all the sun and blue skies we went looking for some quieter hills rather than the usual busy weekend haunts.
Central Gully on Bidean, the birthplace of Winter climbing in Glen Coe, courtesy of Norman Collie was untracked and the deep cleft running up the side of Church Door Buttress was very atmospheric. Its always good to finish a route on a summit too. Sunday took us to the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn, again quiet and in a beautiful setting, a great route for learning the ropes of winter mountaineering.
Back in Scotland from Bournemouth after a year’s break, and what fantastic conditions to come back to. Crisp neve from bottom to top at Creag Meagaidh today (21st Feb) with several parties out but feeling almost deserted. Hope you enjoy the two pictures, firstly testing the ice at the bottom of South Post Direct – verdict: bombproof – and secondly an unknown party topping out into the sun on North Pillar.
Thanks for that Philip. Still sunny today.
And again from Bruce Poll yesterday:
Conditions now very cold at all altitudes on the west, not much ice is dripping any more and the Allt a Mhuillin is freezing over.
The Curtain was climbed delicately and precisely on its first pitch before beefy ice to the top. Orion had a steady stream all day, as did Point 5. Comb, Green Gully, White Line, Tower Ridge, Vanishing, Jubilation, Two Step Corner (big cornice exit). There are plenty more routes in great nick. We were performance coaching today on some steep ice and mixed rock above the CIC hut.