The temperature continued to rise on Monday to peak at +3C on top of Aonach Mor for a couple of hours very early on Tuesday morning. With rain on the snow at all levels the weak layers were broken down and the snow started to freeze solid. Yesterday stayed a bit warm and Simon and Jos had a soggy ascent of North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor with wet snow all the way up and drips going all the way up the sleeves to the arm pits!
Today we woke to snow down to sea level and more forecast during the day. So Tony, Elved and I went to Nevis Range to ride the gondola and chairlift up to nearly 900m. We climbed on the East Face which might seem like a daft idea with westerly winds blowing all the fresh snow over onto the crags. However, we abseiled down central buttress and climbed straight back out on Morwind. The crag is very icy at the moment and the climbing is excellent. Several cornice collapses made us jump during the climb but this route is on a buttress standing proud of the main crag so that it is completely safe from avalanche and cornice collapse. Even so, 50cm of fresh wind slab and a new cornice had built up in the 3 hours we were on the climb. The tops of any North through to East facing gullies will be very heavily loaded with windslab and soft cornices now. Simon and Jos went to the West Face to climb Western Rib which went very well but required some careful navigation across the plateau to find the ski area. Testing conditions all round.
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.