Blue Skies Cold and Dry

S.W. Ridge of Douglas Boulder today

 

A very different day today with no rain and not much wind, plus cold weather. Thanks to James Thacker for this photo of Rocio Siemens working for West Coast Mountain Guides today on Ben Nevis.Cio reported pretty poor crusty snow and reckoned an ascent of Tower Ridge would have been really tough work under the current snow conditions. Other groups travelled to Curved Ridge and the Norther Corries. A very good day after recent downpours and gales.

Found a shiny axe

Near the CIC Hut today, a nice shiny axe was found. A description is required to identify the owner and return.

Steall Waterfall Touching Down

"steall waterfall"

Remember the last two winters:(

Stormy Weather

Still snowing and very wintry at all levels today. Sleet and rain at sea-level, but loads of new snow and strong winds aloft. There must be plenty of ice forming but a break in the weather is needed to access it. Avalanches will undoubtedly be threatening open slopes and gullies for the next few days, so buttress and ridge climbs at a lower altitude would be advisable. The Douglas Boulder area springs to mind but the wind strength may not allow that either. No doubt the Ice Factor will be doing a roaring trade! The road over Rannoch Moor was shut at one point today. Keep an eye on Travel Scotland for possible road closures due to drifting snow.

And this from Tom Starks.

A quick update for you. Had thought about trying a solo ascent of Curved Ridge today but in light of the forecast winds took an amble up the zigzags on Gear Aonach and continued up the NE ridge of Stob Coire Nan Lochan,over the top and back down into the corrie.Things looking a whole lot more wintry! Plenty of snow,rocks and cracks getting well iced up at altitude and rime building up too.Movement relatively easy in snow,only few deep drifts but if this snow continues there will be a lot of powder making things rather difficult.High winds over the top made for a very careful descent around the top of the corrie.From a conversation with another walking party I gather Dorsal Arete had been soloed and another party had backed off Raeburns Original Route.I saw signs of an ascent of one of the gullies on the extreme right-not sure that this seemed sensible, lots of fresh snow blown into all gullies and cornices building.I did hear a massive rumble when at the top of SCNL(from the Bidean direction I think),not sure if it was thunder or something avalanching but it seemed to go on for quite some time!
Attached a few shots from today.

Hoping that this the excellent start to the winter that you were commenting on, be nice to have a go at something more challenging with Spike another time if conditions are conducive.

Many thanks again and all the best this season

Tom Starks

Thanks very much Tom.

 

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.

Cheers

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

Cheers

Gavin

Thanks for this report Gavin.