The snow was down to just about sea level again today for the first of three days with pupils and staff of St. Paul's School in London. They are staying at the very excellent Corran Bunkhouse and today we went to Buachaille Etive Beg. There is a great path up to the col between the two Munro's which makes it quite an easy walk to the peaks and a popular choice. The path was somewhere under the snow today and we only found it occasionally but the snow was quite nice for making steps anyway. Stunning views in all directions, sunshine and a good variety of snow types with wee patches of ice made for a very good learning day for the team.
We looked at what to wear, what to take with us, how to walk (skillful walking), route choice, the effect of the wind on the snow and many more things. There are many areas of deep windslab which are hard work to walk through. The wind changed direction last night as well so there are deposits on many aspects. Most of the windslab is fairly well held in place but it's nice to have the SAIS Avalanche Forecast back up and running for the winter.
We will have another very nice day again tomorrow. There is not much ice to climb apart from in some drainage lines and even then the fresh soft snow is covering up a bit of it. Gullies are full of soft snow and ridges have a lot of soft snow on them as well. Steep mixed routes are very good though - Stob Coire nan Lochan was well rimed all the way to the floor and the crags are generally quite white and well frozen. However we will get a thaw on Sunday which will last a few days so the soft snow will consolidate and hopefully re-freeze into solid snow-ice.
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.