Abacus Mountain Guides had a busy day on Ben Nevis with one team walking to the top, another mountaineering on Ledge Route and a third trying to find some climbing. Unfortunately the warmer weather and gentle rain is making the climbing no very much fun and in fact quite risky so the climbers didn't climb anything. Ice fall and rock fall are significant hazards at the moment as the gentle thaw starts to melt away the snow and ice. Cornices are likely to start o fall off at random moments as well. These things are unpredictable; you might be lucky or you might not be. For me, leaving whether or not I come home in one piece up to luck or good fortune is not good enough so it was a very wise plan not to climb anything. Instead Iain and Stephan went looking for evidence of glaciation from just a few hundred years ago, a fascinating way to spend the day.
Ledge Route worked out very well for Ken, Ed, Stuart, Alastair and Pierre where they found the deep fresh snow to be wet but the old snow still to be quite firm. Connor, Kate and Carol walked up from Glen Nevis with crampons on for most of the second half of the walk. The Red Burn and west flank of Ben Nevis are very well filled in with snow and the path is very uch buried. On the summit the cairn is half buried so there is 2.5m of snow on top. At least the snow gives a great slide back down on the descent! Make sure to take off your crampons and know how to stop if you end up going too fast but bum-sliding (glissading if ou want a more proper term) is a brilliant way to get down a mountain.
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.