Heavy rain last night at sea level was falling at lower and lower levels on the mountains as the night progressed. By this morning it was snowing heavily down to 500m or so and about 20cm had built up in most places. The temperature fluctuated a little with the freezing level seeming to be between 700m and 900m. Mercifully for us, storm Dylan passed right over us so we got the light winds in the centre of the storm. Despite this we got some pretty fierce gusts with snow blowing around in every direction and all the gear got very wet. Ben and Emma described the conditions as brutal and they were not far wrong!
We climbed SW Ridge of Douglas Boulder on Ben Nevis. We had to walk up through the rain turning to snow and into the cloud. At least the Allt a'Mhuilinn was covered in snow just below the CIC Hut and wading in to the route was not so hard. Where it was accumulating the snow was showing cracks and easy sheers so there was certainly some avalanche hazard buyilding up. The climbing was good although it was hard to tell with all the soft snow around and with all the protection we needed to wear.
As a gauge of how harsh a day is for the weather just count the number of pairs of gloves you go through. We used every set we had and still had wet, cold fingers! Well done to Ben and Emma for your determination to continue and to have fun! You both did amazingly well in the conditions today. It might have been type two fun but it was certainly fun!
Happy New Year!
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.