Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tower ridge at it's best.

The forecast for today was light winds, 80% of cloud free Munros and the odd snow shower. It certainly looked like it was going to be a fine day as we walked in but the wind soon picked and just above the CIC hut the snow was starting to blow around. We carried on up into Observatory gully and up towards our plan A but now it was snowing at reasonable rate. Conditions weren't optimal for our plan A so we had a think and decided to head up Tower ridge instead.

The ridge is in fantastic condition at the moment with good firm neve and ice from bottom to top and with the new snow and wind today it felt like it was the middle of February. The rocks high up were riming up nicely and there is more snow on the ridge in places than I have seen before, banking out some of the more awkward steps. We had snow on and off all day and a lot of it was getting shifted around and we did come across some pockets of very unstable wind slab.

Carn Dearg and Castle ridge area this morning.

East gully Approach

Neil throwing some shapes climbing out of Douglas gap.

The end of a great day.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Winters not going anywhere fast!

I've had some time off in the last week or so to rest after a busy winter and have been enjoying the sunshine with a bit of mountain biking and time with the other half. Today though it was back to work in the winter with a trip along the CMD arete with Jack for West Coast Mountain Guides. We never quite got the amazing views that this route can provide but they weren't bad. We made quick progress thanks to the good covering of firm snow along the arete itself and the descent down Red burn is so banked out there isn't even a waterfall at the bottom to look out for. 

This pair kept us entertained today.

Ben Nevis from the CMD.

Descending to the arete.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Not a bad consolation route, Italian right hand.

So plan A was to head for Point 5 but unfortunately a team beat us to it, we gave them a bit of time whilst we geared up but it soon became apparent they weren't going to be moving fast. So we thought lets go round the corner to the Brenva face and have a bit of an adventure and an explore. Yes it was catching the Sun but things weren't falling down so we headed up. As we were routing around for the first belay it began, a pretty constant shower of bits of ice from further up the route. "Ah, well! Don't fancy that, back we go."

After some discussion about which routes Connor had done and which routes I had done we finally stumbled across the fact that neither of us had climbed Italian right hand. Which by now was going to fit the bill as we had done enough faffing and could ab back out. Two good pitches of ice and a good chat to Scott and Ian who we were sharing the route with and then back to the CIC for a brew. 

Monday, 1 April 2013

A great day on Crowberry gully.

Out with Joe and Jay today and with a great forecast 'again' and so many routes in condition it was a difficult decision, deciding where to go. We headed for Crowberry gully in the end and the guys took the lead for the easier lower section. I took over after a couple of pitches and lead us to the top. Most of the route is very well stepped and hooked but the ice in thinning in some places making for some more 'interesting' climbing but a great route non the less.

Joe, enjoying the setting.

Jay getting stuck in!

Relaxing in the cave belay at the start of the last pitch.