Steve and I went prepared for a wet day of digging in the snow and soggy ice climbing on Ben Nevis today. We both had rubber gloves and lots of warm clothes. The plan was to do some coaching with Kevin, Jon, Dean and Luke in buried ice axe anchors and dynamic belaying before placing some ice screws and doing a little ice climbing. As it turned out, the clouds cleared, the snow was quite dry and we had a lovely dry day. We did the snow anchor coaching in Coire na Ciste and we could see some good enough ice on Number Three Gully Buttress so we went up to climb this.
Once we were on the climb it was clear that the climbing was good fun with more ice than we thought and the weather was still getting better. So we decided to climb the route to the top. We had two nice ice pitches and a third of snow to the rocky step. The rocky step was of course completely rocky and the rest of the route was mostly on rock as well. However it was a really fun climb and because we could see the view it was a spectacular place to be. We even got the view from the top and enjoyed a dry walk down. It looks like it will be very windy for a couple of days but colder as well. Wind chill will be a problem as well as standing up and walking in the strong wind. There's a suggestion we might get some more snow at the weekend too.
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.