It was slightly less windy this morning so the gondola at Nevis Range was running as well as the chairlift. Elved, Tony and I had an easy ascent to 900m and a pretty easy walk from there up to the top of the ski area at about 1200m. Thankfully the wind dropped almost completely as we arrived so we had a great day of climbing on the East Face with some sunshine coming out in the afternoon. We even had the crag to ourselves which made a nice change to yesterday's social experience.
Since we were first there and the snow is really hard for walking across the steep slopes beneath the crag we abseiled down Left Twin and climbed straight back out again. This has been climbed a few times and there are nice steps but also hard ice to the side for protection. As always, there is a steep step left at the top of the gully before a few more metres of climbing to get out onto the easy finishing slopes. We went back down for another lap, this time climbing The Split. With it being so cold the ice in there was great too but when it warms up it will feel a bit thin probably. All the ice was hard and a bit brittle today with the cold dry conditions. Sharp picks and crampons are very useful and think about treating it like cascade climbing and avoid climbing underneath anyone else.
Dave and Micj went round to the West Face of Aonach Mor to climb Golden Oldie which felt wintry again with a tiny dusting of snow on it. Phil and Rod had fun at Beinn Udlaidh where they climbed a very steep Peter Pan Direct and Caspar, Jon and John climbed Italian Right Hand on Ben Nevis which was brilliant. There is no avalanche hazard right now and the big cornices are solid and not likely to fall off but there are plenty of other hazards - the cold is pretty serious especially if you are in the wind and the ice is getting brittle so falling debris will be a problem.
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.