David and I finished our five days of climbing together with a climb of D Gully Buttress and Curved Ridge on Stob Dearg, Buachaille Etive Mor. David was at the front for much of it, going through the details of the different rope techniques. We did some moving together Alpine style with about ten metres of rope between us, some pitched climbing and some walking with the rope out of the way. We placed lots of anchors, set up belays and worked on direct belays for speed and efficiency. With so much rock to cover on these two routes we had lots of opportunity for practice.
The high pressure system that has been with us for a while, bringing warm but calm weather, has started to move south and sink slowly. Low pressure systems will now move over Scotland bringing Atlantic fronts and precipitation. We will get back to a more common temperature range so the precipitation will fall as snow on the mountains with brief thaws between colder spells. So, the more normal patern of snowfall, thaw and refreeze will start to make snow accumulate on the peaks. There is still the chance of a very cold end of January and February being forecast as well. The ground is cold, ice forms quickly in the colder periods, so climbing conditiuons will build quickly I think over the next few weeks. It's a guess and might not happen, but I think this winter will turn out OK and the warm start to January will be forgotten about pretty soon.
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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.