Thursday, 31 December 2009


Winds had eased down considerably today and far more pleasent to be on the hills. Laurence and I headed over to Glencoe and Stob Coire nan Lochan, over the wind scoured ridges which are now great for cramponing in the old frozen snow. The East ridge of Stob Coire nan  Lochan is a very nice way to the summit with a rocky ridge and well scoured snow so far better progress up the mountain. As always in Glencoe we were not alone on the hill today, lots of folk out enjoying the last day of 2009.
Happy New Year and  have lots of enjoyable and safe  mounatin journeys in 2010

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Thre was a strong, cold Easterly wind today shifting a lot of the loose snow around the hills. Matt & Holly were celebrating Matt's Birthday today with a walk up Ben Nevis. They picked a good day despite it being tough walking in the strong, cold wind and deep drifted snow. It was actually only around 20mph winds on the plateau, the stronger, gustier and more spindrift winds were lower down the hill. We had the summit to ourselves and the walking became easier on the wind scoured plateau area. Lower down I spotted ptarmigan right on the pony track, something you will NEVER see in the summer season with all the crowds up and down there. Sadly there were 2 climbers avalanched on the North Face today, we heared the helicopters buzzing around most of the afternoon.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Yet another clear, dry and cold day here in the West Highlands. Today I was out with
The Super Droopers Mountaineering  Club (yes that's spelt correct!) who had all had some basic winter skills tuition before hand and so were eager for something a bit more challanging. We headed for the lovely and quiet East ridge of Carn Beag Dearg. This is a nice way up to do the CMD arete and Ben Nevis, especially if you have a willing driver to drop you off at the Nevis Range Gondola. This is what we did  and descended to Torlundy and the NF carpark. We covered tackling steep ground and avalanche awareness/assessment on the hill today. There was a moderate, gusty North Easterly wind on the tops which was distributing the snow about and the ridges were getting nicely scoured making for easier walking. Lower down the hill the winds were variable so lots of snow getting displaced on all aspects. Weather still set to be freezing at all levels into 2010.

Sunday, 27 December 2009


The superb clear skies we had over the last few days had been replaced by cloud to 700m today. After being spoiled with all the glorious sunshine and great views  I was in the clouds today. I abandond going round the Carn Mor Dearg Arete and instead just went up to Carn Beag Dearg. The clouds did slowely part by late afternoon. There was a few light snow showers this morning and still a low freezing level which isn't helping firm up the snow. Great if you like skiing. Forecast is still for low freezing levels for at least another week.

Friday, 25 December 2009


Another fabulous day with clear skies and very little wind, in fact totally windless on the summit by mid day. Ben Nevis was deserted today, well at least for a wee while (why was that?). Not many days were you can stand at the summit with views like these and not a sole around and no footprints in the snow. The was a light wind first thing this morning with some drifted snow blowing. The Pony track is now well banked out and above 1000m it is completely buried. If venturing up here over the next few days then sound navigation skills will be needed as the skies won't always be like this! It was hard going again in the unconsolidated snow with only the occasional old, hard neve exposed. A couple of guys had just done Ledge Route when I was descending.

Thursday, 24 December 2009


What a glorious day again in the West Highlands. Paul and I were up on Aonach Beag today with no one in sight on this fantastic weather day.  Paul 'escaped' the trappings of Christmas to catch a beautiful clear skies and no wind day with me today. It is still hard work trail breaking in the powder snow but in places there is wind blown areas were the excellent older hard snow is lying, admittidly most of the day was spent ploughing in deep snow, but hey on days like this it's worth every bit of sweat. Good excercise for those muscles too! We were rewarded with superb views all day, taking the route upo from Glen Nevis via the south tops and ridges. The falls at Steal are almost in condition, one or two more days and the ice should be formed. This is the third time this week up Aonach Beag-you can never tire of this route with days like this.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Cintia and I had a great day out on Sgurr a' Mhaim in the Mamores today. It was another cold day  with clear skies to the west and no wind at all on the summit. It was another day of trail breaking in the deep powder snow and hard work, time was getting on for the Devils Ridge so instead we headed down some steep ground to the west of Stob a'Choire Mhail. Avoiding any avalanche slopes by staying on the boulder strewn terrain which has some good old snow cementing it all together. Great wee coire this with a nice view of Stob Ban all the way down. It was -6 degrees when we got down to the glen just before dark. This was Cintias last day with me and she was so lucky to get all this snow and cold weather over the last four days. Great preparation for her planned ascent of Aconcagua next year.

Monday, 21 December 2009


It turned out to be a fine day today despite a forecast of snow showers, the cloud lifted by mid morning and all the tops were clear. Cintia and I were on Aonach Beag concentrating most of the day on navigation. It was another day of heavy going as we ploughed through the deep unconsolidated snow, at all levels. The walk up through to Steall Meadow was probably the most beautiful I have ever seen it with snow covering all the trees and we saw no one all day. If the freeze continues the waterfall could well come into condition. Cold weather is set to continue for some time.