After heavy rain at summit level yesterday it was nice to get another good day today. The temperature dropped rapidly at 9pm yesterday and the snow had firmed up again by the time we got to Coire na Ciste today. A few snow showers added to the wintry feel of the day as well with some spindrift and swilry winds blowing the snow around every now and again. In between the squalls, it was pretty calm and the climbing was fun.
At Abacus Mountain Guides we work with trainee mountaineering instructors and British Mountain Guides to give them an aportunity to get some experience of working in the Scottish mountains in winter. This starts with a day out together for us to get to know each other, to do some climbing and for us to share knowledge aboput lots of guiding and intstructing things. Scott and Pete are trainee Winter Mountaineering and Climbing Instructors and Tim is a Trainee British Mountain Guide, and we all went to climb Number Three Gully Buttress.
The climb is thin, patchy and soggy in the first pitch, great snow on the second, rocky with verglas on the third pitch and quite rocky in the last two pitches. Slightly sub-prime conditions but fun for a strong team even so. It's a really reliable climb that is good to climb as long as there is enough ice on the first pitch. This ice forms pretty quickly but even so there was not much there today! Other teams were climbing Number Two Gully and Gardyloo Gully as well as Ledge Route and the other big snow gullies.
From the top we went up to Tower Gully which we descended all the way back to the CIC Hut. There is a little ice on some of the big climbs out of Observatory Gully. Smith's Route, Point Five Gully and Hadrian's Wall Direct all have a little ice but nowhere near enough to climb. It's a start though and something to build on. The warm forecast for the next two days does not look too promising but it does look like it will cool down slightly next week. Fingers crossed!
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.