Another top day in Fort William with almost zero wind and blue skies. Victoria went for a little ski tour with Spike Sellers and Adele Pennington. Skinned up the ski area and over to the col before Aonach Beag. The various faces of Aonach Beag are forming up well, but few climbers were seen, if any. Certainly good for winter walking and some of the safer ridges. Check out SAIS before going into any gullies or loaded slopes
Had a great day out yesterday introducing Paul Boggis to the East Face of Aonach Mor with his pal and fellow instructor Dave Fisher.Both these guys are heading towards the Mountaineering Instructors award in the future. We abseiled in off of a big strong bollard (multi-directional ??), as the posts are either buried or gone. The cornice are still fairly considerable, so you do need to know where to start. Conditions were very good, although after the recent big thaw the ice was fairly porous. Screws for protection were possible on the right wall and the first pitch is banked out.
We abseiled in because we were not happy with going down Easy Gully and traversing the big slope to the foot of the route with a ‘Considerable’ avalanche forecast. Abseiling straight down the route is only an option if no other parties are on the climb. If the climb is busy, it should be possible to abseil off to the south side. Take two 60 metre ropes and some ‘Tat’, in case you cannot locate the insitu gear.
Hear is a short video of the route yesterday.
Thanks to Spike Sellers for this shot, as he enjoys a day off from guiding and goes ski-ing instead.
We have had a very fine weekend as can be see by the photo taken today. The climbing conditions are good and bad and it depends on where you go. One team returning to the accommodation said the East Face of Aonach Mor was very poor, with nothing consolidated on Morwind. Another on the West Face and Golden Oldy had a great time by starting late and following the foot steps of the ‘snow plough’ team ahead of them. I dare say that Tower Ridge and such like will be good if you scan the various blogs. One team backed off of going to Orion Face due to suspect snow conditions on the approach slopes. The avalanche risk is all over the place in pockets, so be very careful to stick to the hard neve if possible. The ski touring will be very good and the upcoming week looks promisingly cold for a change. We have plenty of space at Calluna if you fancy heading north.
A very fine day today in between variable visibility. Teams out climbing on the West Face of Aonach Mor on Golden Oldy, reported some ‘interesting’ snow aretes. One team who searched for the abseil entry on to Central Buttress, bulked at the size of the cornice and walked away to fight another day. An eminently sensible plan.
Just a small chance that springtime and warmer weather is coming north. Certainly none of the classic rock climbs high on Ben Nevis are worth considering just now. These photos were taken a couple of days ago from a superb landscape location by the Commando Memorial above Spean Bridge. I’m off up there for a cycle this afternoon and tea and scones at The Old Pines.
Today we have the best weather in the UK out west. Unfortunately it involves storm force winds and bitter cold! Still, people have been climbing today and earlier this week. If only the wind would subside, the conditions are immaculate in many places. Thanks to Bruce Poll for the CIC Hut photos and Ken Applegate for the others, especially Sgurr Finnisg-aig today, which proved marginally sheltered with a descent back down the slopes at the side of the route.
By the way I found a pair of decent trainers at the top car park. A full description and the cost of postage (£5) will reunite them with their owner.
Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team is the Facebook page for the local team and they are the busiest in Scotland. Please support them in any way you can.
Thanks to Andy McKenna who owns the VisitFort William website and operates the BenNevis HD WebCam – for these shots taken today. He also runs a very fine self-catering and B&B at the location for these photos.
And from Nigel Hooker (what a name for an ice climber!)
Just soloed Neptune gully as friend I was due to climb with today had to go to dentist – knocked front teeth yesterday – not climbing – DIY jobs! Neptune was in good nick and as it is E facing all scoured and finished up upper buttress variant and the ridge above, neve and ice all the way. Just had to approach by moving around the slab on the scoured patches. Topped out in sunshine which was a lot better than the walk in weather!
See you in the morning