The Curtain in the sunshine.
There was a good amount of sunshine today and after a bit of fresh snow last night Ben Nevis looked spectacular. Heavy bursts of rain in Fort William last night fell as snow above just a few hundred metres but did not amount to more than a few centimetres of general coverage. The fresh snow was blown around a bit and did make some fragile cornices (some of which fell off on Aonach Mor East Face) and wind slab (some of which caused naturally triggered avalanches). However the day was bright and sunny with just a couple of very light snow showers and it was cold so the ice climbing was very good.
Jonathan, Will and I went to climb one of the Carn Dearg Cascades just right of the Organ Pipes near the CIC Hut. This had some very variable ice but got us up in one pitch of 60m. A short walk then got us underneath The Curtain which had some beautiful blue ice on the second and third pitches. The start of the slab on the first pitch did not have any blue ice, in fact it did not have any ice at all. It does have crispy snow which is good enough to walk up given the easy angle of the slab and very soon there is ice that will take ice screws. We managed to get inside the ice cave to belay and we did the whole route in three pitches with a quick walk down Ledge Route to finish three excellent days of climbing.
It was a very quiet day on Ben Nevis. Neils and David climbed Castle Ridge which is in excellent condition as well. There was no track on Ledge Route and I think omnly one team in Coire na Ciste climbing Gargoyle Wall. One team got a late start to climb Point Five Gully and was making good progress. Windy tonight and tomorrow morning but then calming down a lot tomorrow afternoon. Sunday looks like the better day of the weekend. There is lots of amazing climbing to enjoy right now. Have fun!
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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.