It used to be that October and November were very quiet months in the guiding calendar. It is often not great for rock climbing, being a bit too wet and cold for bare fingers. It is before the snow arrives properly apart from a few flurries and brief spells of freeze on the summits. But, there are still great things to do in the mountains here and, if you put up with some less than comfortable conditions, the landscape is in its finest autumn colours and is absolutely spectacular.
Mark came to walk up Ben Nevis and, as it turned out, he got a nice day to do it. Craig took him up from Glen Nevis and they found snow and rime on the rocks at the summit. The snow was just for decoration and certainly didn't cause any difficulties for the guys, they were well prepared and wrapped up for the cold.
Sally came up for some more rock climbing with Caspar. As I found out with John last year, being mobile and flexible is key to success. The guys travelled between Ben Nevis, Ardnamurchan and Kingussie to find reasonable rock climbing conditions, and they did find dry rock and sunshine as well. Climbing on the Ring Dyke crags at Ardmurchan is a must for any rock climber, and doing it in the autumn with stags roaring and the ground looking like it's on fire with its red and orange colours is a unique experience.
Meanwhile, Sally and I have been busy running our last Summer Mountain Leader Courses with an assessment last week, and the last one in progress this week. We've seen a huge increase in interest in these course and we have run a record number for us, nine in total between training and assessment courses. We love to work on these and help new people find their way into the outdoor industry and it is looking like we will have another busy year in 2022.
The team had a very chilly night last night, and face another one tonight before they walk out of the hills after their three day expedition. The signs are there that the temperature is dropping and winter is coming. It's time to wrap up any thought of rock climbing and summer mountain walking. It's time for winter.
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.