Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Sunday turned out to be very nice days. A few people enjoyed quiet crags and cold dry conditions for some climbing. Monday and Tuesday were much warmer and storm Frank brought another thaw with rain at all levels. It pushed over the West Coast over night and was doing much more damage to Eastern areas yesterday. By contrast, today dawned frosty, cold and dry with light winds, a lovely day to go climbing so Emma, Ben and I did just that.
The lens on my camera misted up so the pictures are not great. The view was crystal clear with ice forming at all levels and the old snow crisping up very well. A little fresh snow fell down to 600m last night but it stayed dry until about 3pm today when more snowfall came in. One team was climbing Number Two Gully Buttress which looked like a good idea. A narrow but continuous line of solid snow runs up the grooves of the buttress. There is some ice around Experts choice and Fin Gourmet as well. The buttresses were not rimed but did have a reasonable covering of snow. If you were careful you could find a line of white enough rock for mixed climbing. A couple of routes on Number Three Gully Buttress were climbed today.
Emma and Ben have not done much with crampons on so we did a bit of practice on the solid slopes in Coire na Ciste. Number Two Gully made a fine introductory climb for us. The snow is complete and the climbing steady away. There is some useful ice at the sides and some rock anchors still uncovered but the climbing is on steep snow all the way to a tiny cornice at the top. Perfect to learn how it all works.
We chose to abseil into Number Three Gully which is complete and quite simple with no cornice. Number Four Gully is also fine. Soft snow in these gullies is enough to make it easy to descend but not too much to make it hard work climbing up the way. So 2015 ends cold and slightly snowy. Let's hope 2016 carried on that way. Happy New Year and happy climbing!
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.