It feels like April in Scotland, with warm springtime weather and a receding snow pack that we would expect to see after a long and fruitful winter. Instead, it's late February and we should be battling storms, snow and serious winter conditions. This does not mean that there is no fun to be had in our mountains though. There is still great mountaineering to enjoy and if the rock is dry, go rock climbing! It's a fabulous place to be whatever you end up doing to engage with and enjoy the landscape. Get stuck in and have adventures that fit the current conditions.
So on Thursday Rintje, Sally Tom and I climbed NE Buttress on Ben Nevis. This is a classic mountaineering ridge climb that is equally good in summer as it is in winter. In fact it's great in the autumn and spring as well! There were some snow patches and the rock was wet and slimy but it was a fantastic climb and Rintje and I could not work out why we had not climbed it together before now. The snow patches were on the approach traverse from Coire Leis and on the sections of the climb that move left onto the Little Brnva Face slightly. The crest is mostly bare rock, the Mantrap and Forty Foot Corner are just on rock and just as hard as ever!
This weekend has been really very busy for us. Our Performance Winter Climbing Workshop took place at The Ice Factor yesterday, we had two groups on the Winter Walking Skills Workshop and our Winter Mountaineering Course started the three days with a climb of Curved Ridge to look at rock anchors, moving together on ridge climbs and transfering to quick pitches with simple belays. Today our Winter Ben Nevis Walk is enjoying a fine day to reach the summit, the Performance Winter Climbing Workshop is in Glen Nevis working on rescue rope work skills on the rock, our Winter Mountaineering Course is in Coire na Ciste going through snow anchors in Number Three Gully and we have another team enjoying the super classic Tower Ridge.
The sun is shining, the flowers are starting to bloom, the mountains are calling. Immerse yourself in nature and have adventures! It's fundamental.
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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.