Fresh snow fell down to sea level today and we got a lot more of it than was expected. A Moderate avalanche hazard forecast turned out to be a Considerable hazard reality and it was a day to reign in plans and be a bit more cautious. Just driving up the forest track was risky enough! Tom, Brad, Sally and I went up Ben Nevis with the hope climbing something onto the top but we changed plans to climb Douglas Boulder by its SW Ridge instead.
After a week of thaw and with this snow arriving in the last 24 hours it is not surprising that the blocks were not frozen in place. There are lots of loose blocks on SW Ridge at the moment. It takes a good bit of care to climb past them without pulling on them or knocking one off. The climbing was fun though and the position is brilliant. Other teams were climbing the East Ridge, Tower Ridge and Ledge ROute. They are all the same - lots of fresh soft snow on rocks!
We went up onto Tower Ridge just for a short way to explore the access/descent ledge that goes in to Observatory Gully. This is a really handy ledge to know about since it makes descending Tower Ridge much easier and gives an alternative start to the ridge. More fresh snow over night and over the next two days generally before a chance of a warmer spell at the end of the week.
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.