It's nice to be back climbing after watching some very impressive BASE jumping last week! David is up for four days of winter climbing and it seems like he has picked a good week to be here. There was a brief thaw and a little rain up to 1200m or so last night for a couple of hours. It then cooled down again but we did not get much further snow today. There was a rain crust on the snow which is a stabilising indicator. The snow underneath was damp and might firm up some more when it freezes again properly. We didn't get the strong winds that were forecast so today was a very nice day to climb North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and to soak up the expansive views.
There is snow down to about 100m above sea level but no rime on the rocks in Glen Coe. This is fine for North Buttress which can be climbed in just about any condition. There are lots of hooks in the rock and if there is snow-ice in the chimney it is even nicer. Easy, comfortable belays and amazing panaramic views make it a lovely route. We went up to the summit and enjoyed some sunshine on the descen tof Coire na Tullach.
We will hopefully get a good freeze tonight which might well firm up the snow a bit more. There is now the startings of a base to the snow cover and some ice climbs have been good to climb. With the cold weather of last week there is ice at Beinn Udlaidh and some gullies have enough snow-ice to climb them. Over on Creag Meagaidh it looks like Last Post and Centre Post Direct have been climbed.
On Ben Nevis the big gullies are filling in and the rocks on the ridges are being slowly covered over. It looks like we will get a couple of very nice days this week before some gentle thaw freeze cycles come through at the end of the week and weekend. This will further consolidate the snow cover and create a little more snow-ice in the climbs. It's starting to build nicely!
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.