By my calculation (OK, a guess) we had more snow fall in Lochaber in the last 24 hours than in the whole of the rest of the winter so far! Storm Doris did an unexpected trip about 100 miles further north than forecast so we got much more snow than expected today. Last night about 20cm had built up to very low levels and it carried on snowing just about all day with almost no wind. So we now have a blanket cover of soft powder snow everywhere. It is wet below about 600m but it extends down to 200m or so.
Tony, Elved and I followed a welcome trail to Douglas Boulder where we climbed SW Ridge. Elved's prosthetic foot is of course quite tricky to point in different angles and flex in any direction so the mixed climbing is really quite tricky. The technical moves on SW Ridge require all sorts of foot trickery and when there is so much soft snow on the loose rocks it is even more difficult. We made slow and steady progress and even got a view from near the top.
There were some other teams out on Castle Ridge and Slab Route in the Trident Buttresses. Everyone had a time of it wading through the snow. Skis might be a better option for travel right now but there are of course lots of rocks under the soft snow and the ground is not at all frozen. We triggered lots of light slab releases at the foot of Douglas Gap West Gully. You could not call them avalanches but where the snow has built up more it could easily be a problem.
I used to think that snow buntings are common because I see them all the time on Ben Nevis. Actually they are quite rare which is a shame because they are beautiful little birds. This one was eyeing up my sandwich from less than a metre away so it was quite easy to get a picture. I have no idea what they would eat if it wasn't for the crumbs that climbers drop. The ptarmigan must have felt a little less silly today with their white plumage blending in to the snow covered ground.
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.