What a wonderful week for winter climbing on the west coast. Monday was a brilliant, cold day, Tuesday was a little less cold with strong northerly winds that scoured the slopes and faces leaving patches of dense windslab and rime on the crags. Yesterday and today were calm, cold and sunny. Ice has been forming on Ben Nevis in the drainage lines underneath springs and the ground is well frozen. Crags that were facing the wind are rimed up and have snow on the ledges. Number Three Gully Buttress and Creag Coire na Ciste are particularly good for mixed climbing right now.
Today, Rachel, Jamie and I went to climb Tower Ridge. It was an amazing day and especially for Jamie and Rachel as it was their first winter climb. They have both done a good amount of rock climbing and some winter walking but this was their first technical winter climb. It was slow going with soft snow on the rocks. It will take a lot more snowfall to fill in the gaps between the rocks but Tower Ridge is always good and today it was brilliant.
After all this cold weather the crags are well set up for the winter. Next week the weather will turn more mixed and we will get some fresh snow fall. Currently the big gullies have no snow in them but they will fill up fast when it snows and the snow will stay with us once it does.
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.