After a longer day yesterday, Jonathan, Will and I went for an easier day on the legs with just as much fun climbing. We took the gondola at Nevis Range to 650m after an excellent espresso and walked up to the top of the ski area. The ski patrollers are lovely and we had another coffee as we geared up for the climb on the East Face. Last night the temperature peaked with the freezing level at around 1100m or so and it was still a couple of degrees above zero at the top of the gondola. On the top it was frozen though and on the crag it was just a tiny bit damp to start but well frozen above the base of the crag.
We abseiled down Central Buttress just next to the climb in three long pitches with 60m ropes. The climb is done in four pitches, the first three of which each have some great climbing. It's good to see the grade in Scottish Winter Climbs up to IV,4 and I think it compares favourably with Thompson's Route on Ben Nevis in terms of difficulty, length and fun factor. The crag has a good amount of ice and solid snow but it is not as buried as I thought it would be. There is still plenty of rock sticking out which was pretty useful for protection and for the climbing today. We had our crag to ourselves but around on the West Face there were lots of teams enjoying Spare Rib Gully and all the big ridges underneath the summit of Aonach Mor. It's snowing hard on the hills tonight but tomorrow looks like a nice bright day.
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.