Gargoyle Wall has been on my to do list for many years. The climb has become a modern classic and gets many ascents each year. This year is no exception and many people have enjoyed the route as a snowed up rock climb. A little ice in the first two pitches can be helpful but it works very well with just a little snow and a little rime to make it all white. Today it was one of the routes that Tommy and I had on our minds.
The crag was white, slightly verglased and with one or two loose blocks but with little ice in the cracks. There was a bulge of ice on the second pitch which didn't look helpful so we went round this via Thompsons Route as in the first ascent. The rest of the climb was excellent with good hooks and the most outrageous positions! It's an outstanding climb and one you should try to get to climb one day if you haven't already.
There were not many other people around today. One team went up Number Three Gully below is on soft snow under the big cornices but they got on fine. Several teams climbed Tower Gully which was a great choice in the sunshine today. The ice at the foot of Glover's Chimney looks good and the mid grade snow ice gullies such as Green Gully and Central Gullies on Creag Coire na Ciste are all complete and I imagine have firmer snow or even some ice now.
After yesterday's wet snow and big avalanches (down Observatory Gully, from the foot of Glover's Chimney, Number Four Gully and Central Gully in the Trident Buttress as well as lots of heavy sloughs down most of the gullies) the temperature dropped early this morning settling the snow and creating a slight crust. Big cornices have grown over the crags and gullies in the last couple of days. The temperature seemed to be going up and down quickly today when we were on the climb. It was generally cooler but not a hard freeze by any definition. Another thaw with rain tomorrow will continue to consolidate the soft snow.
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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.