The New Year has not brought us much more new snow. We had a micro-dusting on Tuesday when the temperature dropped and a bit of rime has been growing on the rocks in the last couple of days. Ice is also forming fast in the cold conditions but there is still little climbing to speak of. The old patches of snow shrank in the warmer days over Christmas and are now frozen solid. You need to walk a long way into Coire na Ciste but you can climb Number Three and Number Four Gullies on snow from the bottom of the scree slopes. Tower Gully is OK as well with a narrow section with a hole in Observatory Gully!
Rime is growing on some of the rocks but the bottom of the steeper buttresses are still not very white. You can find some mixed climbing that is well rimed up on the rocks most exposed to the wind above 1100m. The great ridges are quite tricky and slow going due to the thin cover of snow on the rocks. There was a good bit of verglas around today as well so don't expect an easy climb of Tower Ridge, Ledge Route or any of the others. A ridge climb will be awkward and slow work right now.
There are some snow patches on the plateau and on the path down as far as 1100m or so and patches of ice well below this. The verglas and light snow and rime make the rocks very slippery so it was a slow walk down today. The cloud did just about fall below the summit while we were there though which was a bonus. We saw a bit of a brocken spectre and some blue sky above the cloud pouring down into the coires. There might be more of this tomorrow and possibly at the weekend and it does look like it will stay colder for a day or two than was thought previously.
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.