When there is a difference in the weather forecasts you know that there is some uncertainty in what we're going to get. MWIS forecast 30mph to 40mph wind speed today but The Met Office forecasted considerably stronger wind speed. It all depended on the timing of a front and low pressure arriving from the west. At dawn it still looked pretty calm and there was no sign of anything coming in early so Craig, John and I decided it was worth a try at North East Buttress on Ben Nevis. This is a big, exposed climb that is no fun in a strong wind!
Ice has been forming over the last few days in drainage lines due to the freezing temperature. Waterfall Gully was climbed as well as Tower Scoop and Central Gully Right Hand. Point Five Gully is complete but not with ice! This will require a good soaking of rain and a refreeze before it is solid enough to climb. There is some hope that this will happen over the weekend. Zero Gully also has some snow in it but Orion Face and the other open face climbs just have soft snow on them and very little ice.
The traverse to First Platform on NE Buttress is very icy due to the seepage that you always get here. There is little snow on the climb but the snow and ice that is there was very nice to climb. We made very good progress and got to the Man Trap in completely calm and warm conditions. As always The Man Trap provided some fun and the Forty Foot Corner was quite OK. So the storm did not arrive until after we were down and our gamble payed off, this time. Well done to Craig and to John for three excellent days of climbing.
Summit temperatures are forecast to fluctuate around freezing with precipitation for the rest of this week and to be slightly below freezing at the weekend. This could pack in a bit more snow and form a bit more ice in the gullies. Let's hope so!
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.