It was clear right from the start that the weather was not quite as forecast today. We did not get a frost from a night of clear skies, instead we had fresh snowfall at sea level first thing this morning that continued for a couple of hours. The mist was down and it was a grey day with what seemed like no temperature gradient at all - +1C at sea level and the same at 1200m. Despite all this Sally, Nigel and I had an excellent day climbing Ledge Route on Ben Nevis.
Nigel and Sally both stay locally and are very active in the busy ramblers group. Today was all about trying something beyond what they have done before, something that they would not like to tackle by themselves. Ledge Route was perfect for this, especially in the calm conditions today with soft, damp snow for making good steps in. The narrow rocky section was a bit tricky with a lot of snow on the holds but the rest of the climb was really very nice. There is lots of soft damp snow down to very low levels and we could really do with a proper thaw and refreeze to form some ice. Even so The Curtain is probably fat enough for a reasonable ascent and the Organ Pipes have a good build up indicating that other drainage lines will also have ice on them. Looks like we'll get a thaw on Friday with some stormy weather too. Let's hope for a quick return to cold conditions afterwards.
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.