Winter 2017 has been somewhat frustrating for me. The plan had been to get my Winter ML assessment done in January then go climbing for the rest of the season. But winter kept melting. Over and over again. So my assessment got cancelled. Over and over again. Until finally, on the 17th March my Winter ML was a pass, and at long last I could go climbing.
By some miracle this coincided with a cold, calm and clear spell of weather, so on Thursday Caspar and I wandered up into Coire na Ciste in search of ice. With rather large cornices over Central Gully we instead went for Green Gully, which turned out to be a great option. The ice was in great nick, although most of it was slightly too thin to take screws, and no cornice on the exit slopes. Topping out into the sunshine, it was perfect! Walking off, Rob and Connor reported excellent ice on Point Five Gully, and with the temperature set to rise again very soon we had no other option than to head back up the next day.
The boys hadn't been lying. The ice on Point Five was wonderful! The first three pitches were very steep, with the chimney pitch definitely the crux, but we couldn't have asked for better climbing. The snow on the top pitches was ok, skirted the small cornice on the left and once again topped out into the sunshine.
We're currently basking in hot sunshine here in the Outdoor Capital, but there is still time for it to go cold again and potentially get some more winter routes in. Even if that is the end of the season, with a Winter ML in the bag and two super classic routes ticked in two days, winter 2017 has come pretty good in the end.
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.