Blue sky and no wind helped the temperature overnight drop but there was no frost at sea level so Mick and I did not know if the snow and ice would be frozen today as we walked in to Ben Nevis. We had to wait until we got to the first patch of snow before we would know. When we got there, the snow was frozen hard and there was a little new ice in the grass near the CIC Hut. All good signs for ice climbing and we went for Hadrian's Wall Direct.
The ice on Hadrian's Wall Direct is still very fat and it was brilliant to climb today. There are still some drips of water running down the rocks and some of the ice is soft but in general the climbing was very secure and very good in the calm conditions. It was a soft shell day - in fact jeans and a jumper would have been fine today but I was very happy in my Jottnar soft shell. It was a day to take your time and enjoy the situation.
Matt and Rob climbed Orion Direct in delicate but fun condition and another team was climbing Point Five Gully. The narrow chimney seemed to channel more drips down the snow so it was a bit softer in places. It is clear tonight though so we should get a better freeze over night and the snow should be more crisp tomorrow. In the sunshine, the snow is unstable and we saw an avalanche in the Trident Buttresses. The thaw yesterday also took away a little more ice so Minus Two Gully is probably too thin to climb now and Sickle has a thin bit at the bottom. Great weather is forecast all week and we have a guide free if you want to enjoy some classic ice climbing in the sunshine!
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.