The BMG Trainees had a pretty mixed bag of weather and climbing conditions this week. It was good for them to see the full spectrum of what to expect when they are at work in the future. But it was good to finish on a high today with a frost, deep blue sky and lovely snow. We went to Stob Coire nan Lochan to do a selection oif the brilliant mixed climbs there. The standard required by the IFMGA is grade V so that's what we did.
Will took Paul and me up Crest Route (V,6) which is a route I have climbed a few times as well. The soft snow was hard work to get through to the start of the climb since the older snow did not go completely solid after the thaw and refreeze this week. The climb was quite icy though with crusty and icy bits of snow covering all the cracks and spikes. Will did an amazing job of digging through all this icy stuff in the way to find the good hooks and ledges as well as protection. Over on Scabbard Chimney and Spectre the other teams found the icy sections to be a bit more helpful in places. We all topped out and descended Dorsal Arete for some more short roping practice before a great bum slide down Broad Gully and back into the coire.
Over on Ben Nevis the mixed climbing was reported as being pretty icy as well. Gargoyle Wall today was steady to climb but with pretty poor protection since it was buried under the ice. Sioux Wall was climbed as well but the going was slow and hard earned. On the other hand, it seems like Orion Direct was climbed today and in good time. This weekend is forecast to be windy and wet, ideal for further consolidation of the snow and formation of ice in the cold spell we will get after Monday next week. I hope you dosed up on sunshine and blue sky today - we might not see much of it at the weekend!
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.