More stormy weather with lots of fresh snow has been with us so far this week. Sunday gave us a very rapid temperature spike that got the fresh snow of Saturday a bit wet. It then cooled down during Sunday night, freezing a crust on the snow, and we got some fresh snow and graupel. David and I enjoyed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor along with a few other people. We fouind some very helpful snow-ice and it was cold and dry so we stayed comfortable, despite the wind and heavy spindrift on the route. We abseiled off due to the wind and tried to keep out of everyone's way (not completely successfully, sorry!).
Today was windier from the start and the snow is accumulating much more. David and I took the long plod up to Stob Coire nan Lochan which took a good 45 minutes lomnger than normal due to the deep soft snow and big swirls of wind in the coire. The rocks are disapearing under the fresh snow but the new snow is quite blocky - windslab with a couple of weak layers underneath. We were happy to walk up to the crag but we certainly did not want to descend Broad Gully afterwards.
David and I climbed Raeburn's Route on Central Buttress. We added a bit more spice to the first pitch and found the second pitch under quite a bit of snow. There is some useful snow-ice here too and the climbing was mostly very nice. We were sheltered from the wind on the crag and prepared for the battering we were going to get once we topped out. It was definitely a goggles day on top!
Ice is forming quite quickly in Glen Coe. The Screen has some good ice on it as well as The Smear. Streams are freezing up as well. On Ben Nevis there is ice growing quite quickly but there is also a lot of snow being blown into the gullies. Buttresses are best for the moment but once the snow settles down after a good thaw and refreeze, the ice will be very nice.
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.