The ice climbing on Carn Dearg Buttress in January of last year was excellent, the best we've seen for many years. Right now it is just as good again. Abib and I climbed Gemini which we found to be better iced up than it was last year. The Shroud is huge and The Shield Direct looks pretty good too.
Abib and I followed Chris and Max up Gemini which made it a more sociable day. The first pitch is steep but well iced with good quality ice. The big smear is fat and can be climbed on either side of the giant flake. We went right and found some brittle ice but my picks were a bit blunt by then too! The mixed pitches are well iced up too which makes them more straightforward. The exit groove is great fun on fat solid ice.
There were a few teams on Orion Direct today and they all seemed to climb the route quite quickly. I wonder if there is now a nice trail up this climb. The Curtain had a few more ascents as well as Vanishing Gully, Boomers Requiem and others. The snow is settling down a bit but there are areas of deep soft snow which make travel heavy going. We have another few days of cold calm weather including this weekend. Make sure you make the most of it!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.