As the temperature starts to get even colder and the Easterly wind starts to blow stronger, Elved, Tony and I went for a deep gully with plenty of caves in which to shelter out of the elements. Crowberry Gully was actually our second choice of climb since it was too windy for the gondola to run at Nevis Range. It was certainly out of the wind though and very good fun to climb.
Lots and lots of people were heading up the path, past the impressive avalanche debris from a week ago, and it seemed like most of them were going up Curved Ridge. As it turned out, a lot of them were going into Crowberry Gully as well and we joined in at the back of the queue. The route is very well stepped out and has many belay ledges cut out of the solid snow. There is virtually no need to swing or kick at all for the whole climb. The gully is also very well banked out with snow and ice. Neither of the chockstones low down in the gully are exposed and it's very straightforward all the way up to The Junction.
The Left Hand finish looks very icy and snowy compared with how it was a couple of years ago when I climbed it with Tommy. I was very tempted to go that way but I stuck with the regular route and enjoyed the belay in the cave under the crux pitch which is very well iced up. Jon, John and Caspar came up as well to join the party; Annie finished off our winter mountaineering course on East Ridge of Beinn a'Chaorainn; and Phil and Rob climbed Italian Right Hand before descending Tower Ridge.
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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.