Tony, Elved and I went to Beinn Udlaidh today to sample some of the lovely steep ice climbing there. Streams dribble down the cliffs here and form cascade style ice climbs, some of which are very steep indeed. With very cold temperatures, blue sky and sunshine today it was a very continental feel to the place. We could have been in La Grave or Cogne if there was a cafe at the bottom instead of a pig farm! Not that I have anything against trhe pig farm, it looks very well kept and the pigs are super friendly.
There were a few other people climbing there today but we managed to get into South Gully of the Black Wall first. This is a really nice IV,4 climb which you can climb in two long pitches with a rock belay half way up. The ice fall on the second pitch is not as hard as it looks and of course the ice is solid and fun to climb. We had a couple of snow showers and some spindrift caused by the wind making rotors in the coire but it was a really nice day and we came home completely dry again. It is much easier to stay warm when it is below freezing than if it is a degree or two above because you stay dry.
Lots of the other climbs were being enjoyed by various teams. The Croc and Peter Pan Direct were climbed, Quartzvein Scoop and several of the easier lines. Captain Hook looked like fun too. The lower tier is pretty well iced up as well so those of you with really strong arms can have a good workout there!
Elsewhere, Hadrian's Wall Direct was great today as well as several other big classic ice climbs. With the avalanche hazard being so low we can explore other routes on Ben Nevis so when it is busy at the weekend it might be worth thinking of places such as the ice climbs in the Trident Buttresses (Nasturtium is great) and around on the Little Brenva Face.
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.