Snow and ice on Ben Nevis.
The great weather is continuing to bring lots of sunshine to Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK. We have been enjoying wonderful conditions for rock climbing, mountaineering, walking, biking and just about everything. But, it has now gone seriously colder. On Tuesday night the temperature dropped and the soft, soggy snow froze solid.
If you are thinking about walking up Ben Nevis at the weekend on any route, it is essential that you have winter boots, crampons and an ice axe. You will also need lots of warm clothing, hats, gloves and good shell clothing. If it gets cloudy, it will be hard to navigate since the trail is covered in snow from corner 6 at 1100m. It is seriously wintry on top despite what it might feel like in the glen.
If you are going ice climbing, there are lots of classic climbs in good condition. People have been climbing Zero Gully, Hadrian's Wall Direct, Point Five Gully, Indicator Wall, Smith's Route, Tower Scoop, Glover's Chimney, The White Line, The Cascade and Expert's Choice, Comb Gully, Green Gully and many other climbs are looking good. Orion Direct is broken at the crux pitch unfortunately.
Many, but not all, of the cornices fell off in the warmer weather, but what is left is now very well frozen in place. It's easy to get out of Number Four Gully, Number Three Gully is OK on the left and it's the same in Number Two Gully.
The great ridges are OK too but they have lost a bit of snow low down. Tower Ridge was lovely on Monday and it has not changed since. Castle Ridge and NE Buttress are a bit dry but Ledge Route is mostly on snow.
Did I say it has gone cold again? It has, and it's a bit of a shock to the system after al the warm sunshine. So, don't get caught out. Take lots of warm clothing, hats and gloves, as well as good waterproof shell gear to keep the wind out. Here's a reminder of some useful things to take with you.
Have a great weekend.
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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.