More fresh snow last night didn't really give up much during the day. We had a few clear spells between the showers but we also got a good bit more snow from a moderate Northerly wind. With so much fresh, windblown snow on the mountains above 400m ridges are the best route options. Since Grahame had never been up Ben Nevis we went for Ledge Route along with a few other teams. It's quite reassuring when other people make the same decision as you and there is plenty of space on Ledge Route so we had a sociable day. We got there first too so we broke trail for much of it and enjoyed pretending we were making a first ascent!
The SE wind yesterday stripped much of the snow off the crest of the ridge for us so we just had the snow from last night on the rocks. We used crampons but it was a bit scratchy on the rocks. We did a few drills and shared ideas on moving efficiently and securely by slowing the pace down and placing every foot accurately. It takes time and practice to become really solid on your feet and it's well worth thinking about how to do it better.
Annie was out with Grahame and me again today which was great for the company and for trail breaking. Annie is a trainee MIC holder which means she has just one last assessment before she has the highest UK based qualification in mountaineering. It's nice to work with trainee instructors to share ideas and help them on the way to their qualifications. I have no doubt that Annie will cruise her assessment. We descended the Red Burn which has a line of firm windslab down its S side making it easy to descend.
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.