We had a thaw on Sunday but it was only brief and there was little rain. The thin snow cover we had mostly survived and it has been cold with light snow showers since. So Lara, Sigrid and I enjoyed Curved Ridge today with a covering of soft, cold dry snow down to 500m or so and some older snow that had firmed up nicely. There was plenty of ice on the trail on the way to the start of the climbing as well as lots of ice on the slabs. Once on the ridge though it was just fluffy snow on rock and we managed to climb the whole thing without using the crampons.
The crux corner was quite tricky today and the whole climb was a bit harder than usual. With less snow covering the useful bits of rock or with more snow to make good steps in, the climbing is easier. Today we had just enough to cover up everything but not enough to be of any use. The crux corner in particular was delicate and took a moment to work out the best way to pull and push and avoid the slide back down again.
After this point we found some useful older snow with good boot steps to follow all the way to the summit. The first part of the walk down has enough old snow now to make it nice and easy going but the gully at the top of Coire na Tullach is not really full enough to make it an easy descent. We did go down this way but there were a couple of steps in it still. We'll have another brief thaw tomorrow with plenty of rain but it will go cold again afterwards by the look of it. These snow-thaw-freeze cycles are excellent for building up a base of snow that will hopefully last the rest of the winter.
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.