Saturday, 30 January 2010


It was a beautiful Alpine like morning today in The Highlands after a clear night it was below freezing at sea level. I went into the Eastern corries of Beinn a' Chaorainn, West of Creag Meagaidh. This side of the mountain is definatelty reccomended, beautiful corrie and the classic beautiful East ridge to the summit is a winter grade II, I went over to the opposite ridge which with some nice grade I ground, Corrie Ban apptley named today, well filled with a lot of snow. The snow is mostly well consolidated but still pockets of windslab and some fresh deposits from recent snow showers. The cloud came across later on and was lingering just on the summit, above 900m by mid day. The only shower we had today was a 10 second snow flurry and winds were only light but quite cold on the tops. A good hill to do between trains on The West Highland line, from Tulloch. Set to be cold for the next few days and snow showers in the NW.

Monday, 25 January 2010


Another wonderful winters day, West coast of Scotland was probably the best weather in the UK today. It was freezing at seal level this morning after a clear night, some early cloud on the tops gradually dissappeared and by mid day there was some sunshine, with a temperature inversion below Ben Nevs. I went up No. 4 Gully on The Ben today, there was quite a few climbers out on various routes including the ice fall near the CIC Hut, Ledge Route and on Comb Buttress. No one in the gully and very straight forward at the moment with no cornice problems. The snow is well consolidated and all the crags are rimed, Tower Ridge looks spectacular, plastered in snow. Excellent conditions on the descent of The Red Burn, really good hard snow right down to the waterfall making for a very pleasent descent. Days are getting longer now, finished with plenty of daylight left.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


It was another dry and cold day again in The Highlands. Fred, Jamie and I were down at Beinn a' Dothaidh, south of Glencoe today. We went up the very scenic West Gully which is the grade 1 route close to all the harder climbs on the NE aspect of the mountain. The weather was much better than forecast with a bright spell around mid day, with some light cloud cover on the summits and only the odd snow flurry in a light wind. There was a team on Taxus which is probably the most well known climb in the area, looking good with plenty of ice. No one had been up West gully recently so nice to be climbing on un trodden snow. Cornice was ok and easily bypassed to the left.

Saturday, 23 January 2010


John and I headed to the West side of Aonach Mor today and climbed Golden Oldy. This grade II winter climb is a nice route up to the summit of Aonach Mor and on the quieter side of the mountain, although there were  half a dozen  teams here on this western side there are plenty of routes and we soon had our route to ourselves. There is excellent hard snow lower down and all the rocks are rimed, a soft layer of snow on top of frozen turf or old snow with some fresh windslab high up from yesterdays showers and high winds. We were in cloud most of the day.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


It was a colder day today and we had snow showers at 700m with lighter winds. Marije, John and I headed over to the Eastern side of Carn Beag Dearg and we went through various belays on rock and snow has we moved up some nice craggy ground. The old snow is starting to consolidate after some melt/freeze but a fresh covering of snow and spindrift is buiding up. Great to feel a more wintry day after yesterdays brief tropical phase. Temperatures on the hill set to be cold and unsettled through next week with more snow.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Well it had to happen, Atlantic fronts finally brought in moist, warm air and rain today with some morning strong winds thrown in for good measure. Marije & John were with me today on their first day of a winter skills course. Despite the warm, wet conditions we soon got into plenty of snowy, winter terrain up in the  Aonach Beag area from Steall meadows. We covered  basic moveing around on snow useing boot & ice axe techniques, axe arresting and avalanche assessment. The snowpack is now well saturated with all the rain. It was sleating at around 800m, the rain and winds eased off by mid morning but the rain came on again in the afternoon. A very mild day with Southerly winds and Steal falls is now back to normal-water, lots of it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Gone are the blue skies and for the last couple of days there has been cloud cover and temperatures in the glens have risen above freezing. Laurence and I went Glenfinnan way today and up Streap, a gem of a  peak in the West Highlands with several knobbly summits before reaching the wonderful final narrow ridge to the summit. At 901m it doesn't make Munro status, thankfully! We followed one of the many wee burns up from the Dubh Lighe glen to the ridge finding some ice here and there amongst the still unconsolidated snow. There was a strong SE wind today to spice up the final ridge walk. Stayed dry all day and cloud above the tops so nice views.