Looks like stormy weather ahead and hopefully fresh snow on the mountains, particularly the west coast.
Just off on a jaunt to Harris in The Hebrides, postings may be a bit delayed.
Friday, 28 January 2011
Another day, another type of weather. It looked hope full in the morning with some bright skies but cloud descended to 800m by mid day. Today was Barrie's first time on winter terrain so we did a quick run down on ice axe and crampon technique. Barrie progressed quickly and was confident so we headed up into No.4 Gully on Ben Nevis. There is a softish layer on the snowpack above 900m so not the nice hard neve like we had on Meagaidh yesterday, but lots of ice and hard snow lower down the hill. We were soon in cloud but it was nice with not many folk about. Barrie wanted to go to the summit so we did some navigation in the very poor visibility across the plateau. I thought it was July not January on the descent as two separate individuals wandering up the mountain path asking 'how far' and 'where is...' questions!
Thursday, 27 January 2011
What a stunningly beautiful day with blue skies, freezing temperatures and just a slight breeze on the tops. Brian and I headed over to Creag Meagaidh and went up Easy Gully which lies just to the left of The Post Face. Fantastic close up views of the start of some of the big routes on the face. Lots of ice around and with hard snow conditions couldn't get much better. We had hard snow all the way up and onto the plateau with stunning, clear views. What a day!
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
It was back to definite winter conditions today on The Ben. With a strong, cold easterly wind, cloud down to 800m and some light snowfall made for a great day out. The snow was well frozen and rime on the rocks high up. George and I headed up Corrie Leis and around the CMD arete. Not much in the way of views but a grand day out. High pressure for a week (forecasted) and hopefully more in the way of blue skies, light winds tomorrow.
Sunday, 23 January 2011
It was a milder day today and freezing levels above the tops, still excellent cover of snow above 800m. Terry and I headed for some peace and quiet in the Eastern corrie of Stob Ban in the Mamores. Terry wanted a recap on some axe arresting and we also did some more avalanche awareness. Right on cue was a large area of avalanche debris below South Gully. This was probably from last weekend in the heavy rain and warm temperatures.
Saturday, 22 January 2011
It was a busy day on Ben Nevis, the carpark at Torlundy was completely full this morning and many teams out enjoying the climbing. Terry is out with me this weekend on a skills course and today we headed up No.4 Gully. We did a recap over basic crampon skills and some avalanche awareness earlier down the corrie. We were watching the queues growing in Green Gully whilst there were many other routes near by crying out to be climbed! There is an excellent slot been cut out in the cornice on No.4, any larger folk may not be able to squeeze through! Weather was superb today, despite a pessimistic forecast of cloud all day, we actually got lovely clear spells at times and a high cloud base.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
A stunning day today in The Highlands with sub zero temperatures and blue skies all day over Ben Nevis. Today we looked at avalanche awareness and snow shelters in The Ciste Corrie with Brian and Ali on their second day of winter skills. Snow cover down to 700m and the crags now looking very wintry, what a transformation from a couple of days ago. The snow is consolidating but we did find an easy shear in the snowpack.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
The cold, clear weather was back at last today. With sub zero temperatures on the hill and a freezing of the old snowpack, Ali and Brian had great cramponing conditions on their first winter skills day today. We headed up to The Nid on Aonach Mor and found some excellent, large areas of neve to practice cramponing technique. There are pockets of fresh windslab in some areas but also lots of windblown old snowfields which have been subjected to thaw/freeze. The high, thin cloud cleared in the afternoon and we had some lovely afternoon sun. With only light winds it was a pleasure to be out and at last back to proper winter conditions. High pressure and cold nights/days for a few days to come.
Monday, 17 January 2011
At last, freezing levels are down and it's forecast snow showers today and overnight. A good freeze and everything will be fine again, well at least in the corries and higher tops. For a bit of what January should be like check out Trail Magazines February issue. Big spread on Ben Nevis in winter with a photo in there by yours truly.
Friday, 14 January 2011
It's been pretty mild recently, indeed even warm with rain and strong winds thrown in. Unfortunately a lot of snow lower down the mountain has disappeared rapidly. Still it's forecast to be cooler and drier by Sunday. Today Barrie and I headed indoors and down to The Ice factor at Kinlochleven for a spot of indoor climbing. Barrie's first taste of climbing of any sort and was surprised by the amount to learn, despite this insstruction he still managed a spot of work on his mobile phone in between the climbing, cafe, gear shop and game of pool at the bar!