At the start of this week the forecast for today was pretty grim. As it turned out we had a hard frost and continuous sunshine all day. Another brilliant day in the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Will and Jonathan went up Ben Nevis in search of some ice climbing. They have both done a little bit if ice climbing before so Green Gully would have been perfect. However a team got there before us so we went to climb Thompson's Route instead. This is not a straightforward climb - it requires all sorts of bridging and searching for good ice in amongst the snow and rock. Jonathan and Will did a great job though and climbed it very well. In at the deep end with the ice climbing!
There are many big classic ice climbs in good shape at the moment. Orion Direct had a few ascents today as well as Observatory Buttress. Point Five Gully, Hadrian's Wall Direct, Astral Highway, Sickle, Minus Two and Minus Three Gullies have all been climbed recently. Mega Route X is still looking good as well as The Shroud, Gemini and The Shield Direct which was also climbed today. There are many grade III and IV ice climbs to enjoy as well including Italian Right Hand, The Curtain, Vanishing Gully, Waterfall Gully, Comb Gully, Green Gully, etc.
The classic ridges are in great shape. Tower Ridge and NE Buttress have lots of solid snow and the climbing is very nice. Both have had many ascents. Observatory Ridge has some solid snow and would be great to climb. Castle Ridge is also very snowy and Ledge Route is very well filled in with a good boot trail.
Hard mixed routes have lots of ice in the cracks and thick rime on them so they will be quite difficult at the moment. Icy mixed climbs are good though.
The big easy gullies mostly have big cornices on them. Nobody has been up or down Number Three Gully or Number Four Gully for a while by the look of it and their cornices are pretty big. The best descents are by the Red Burn, Coire Leis or Ledge Route.
We have a bit of a thaw forecast over the weekend and then drier weather next week with frosty nights and warm days. I think the ice we have currently will take a good long while to melt away and the snow cover will be here for a few months yet.
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.