We had a deep thaw on Saturday with the temperature at 900m of +5C for several hours and heavy rain. Abacus Mountain Guides' teams managed to deliver some valuable training to Oban MRT members in Glen Coe while staying well clear of the numerous large avalanches during the day, and our skiing and climbing teams went east to find drier weather in the Cairngorms. We lost a good bit of snow cover but you would not have thought so looking at Stob Coire nan Lochan yesterday. Fresh snow on Sunday and yesterday added to what was already a very good cover of snow.
It has not properly refrozen at this level (about 1000m). The snow-ice on the climbs is detached in many places and has not frozen back in place. The turf is still well frozen - turf takes longer to freeze as well as to thaw out. Tony, Elved and I climbed Raeburn's Central Ordinary Buttress Route which was very nice. The snow-ice on the first pitch was slightly disconcerting since it sounded hollow and was slightly detached. The rest of the climb was very nice though, on solid snow for much of the way. Early in the season this climb is not as much fun with just a little snow on the rocks. Now that it has filled in properly it is much nicer to climb.
Owen and his team were climbing Evening Citizen which had a few nice patches of ice as well. Brad, Dave and Gregory climbed Twisting Gully Right Hand into Moonshaddow which had ice on the middle section leading to the cool chimney towards the top. Casper went up Twisting Gully which was nice and was best with an exit on the left. Looking down SC Gully, I was happy that I did not have to try to climb out past the steep soft snow and cornice at the top. There are a few cornices above the crags but they are not huge. It's mostly the gullies that are affected.
The weather front came in at lunchtime as forecast and gave us steady snowfall as we descended Broad Gully back into the coire and down to the van. Broad Gully is very full, wide and has no cornice. It would make an excellent steep ski at the moment and one snowboarder booted up to have a go. We made do with a bum slide!
We have another thaw right now but the temperature is dropping already and it looks like it will be cold with further fresh snowfall for the rest of the week.
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.