/ UKC Cuillin Ridge Conditions report 26th April 2012

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Mike Lates - on 26 Apr 2012
With a good forecast for the weekend ahead here's a few observations to help folk.

Most approach routes to the Munros are now well stomped; snow patches aren't very extensive but can still be slippy for the first few hours in the morning.
On the crest almost all the snow has gone but frustrating wee patches sit in the most useful ledges at times.
Collie's Ledge is still banked out right to the lip for a good 25m+ in the northern half; I pitched across from the last reliable spike right across to the next on Monday. The pics I've put up aren't great but you'll get the idea. Climbing King's Chimney would have been quicker retrospectively but that's not much use to Munro baggers. The steps will get slightly bigger this week but temperatures aren't due to rise for a while yet so I don't expect much change.
The Pinn has been dry but we were foiled by rime yesterday that had formed out of the cloud vapour and fierce winds; a rack & rock shoes may have made South Crack worthwhile apart from the subzero rock temperatures.
Pinnacle Ridge of Gillean- http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=196238
is still going to remain as a pretty full-on winter style option and I've not heard of anyone doing it recently. Crampons for sure!
The abseil tat over Bidean hasn't been replaced as yet; King's cave tat all seems fine. I skirted the Gap so not sure about that. There is one good bit of tat on the lower of the 2 ab points off Dubh Beag.

Overall I think crampons and axe are sensible but more confident folk will cope fine without just as long as they are cautious.
The drop in wind, clear skies & sunshine should make everything a lot more friendly. There's enough fresh snow in patches to melt for cooking if you're struggling for water but remember to take enough gas.

Standard warning to treat the rocks with caution- nothing worse than usual but remember the weathering is a continual process. Have fun, Mike
Tom Last - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates:

Thanks for that Mike.

Any news on the big rockfall in Sron Na Ciche you mentioned a couple of weeks back?
Mike Lates - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Southern Man: I went for a look and there was no sign of anything significant; my guess is that a comparatively small lump falling into the Amphitheatre made a helluva racket that sounded more dramatic on a still day. The beeb were up filming on Monday in clear weather and nobody reported seeing anything untoward.
I'd go & climb in the sun rather than on that face myself. Sun reaches it after about 2pm. Western Drainpipe Ridge (used to be called Sally in 96 guidebook) is a great sunny route beside the Coire Lagan path before you reach the lochain; 2 star Hard Severe. Scramble Lochain Traverse on W Buttress of Sgumain to reach Sron na Ciche in the afternoon.
TomPollock - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates:
Hi Mike, we did Pinnacle Ridge on Monday. The first two pinnacles were clear of snow but the third and Knights Peak had considerable amounts of soft snow on them which made progress very slow, especially the traverse at the beginning of Knights. Rock was otherwise dry (but that was on Monday).
Cheers, Tom.
Mike Lates - on 27 Apr 2012
Mike Lates - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: B*****ks; another hefty sprinkling of white stuff this morning. Will update tonight.
wee jamie on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: What do you mean Mike?!!! I've been given a lifeline with this fresh snow. I didn't have enough painting ideas to keep me in business over the summer until now. I know it's a pain for travel on rock, but it doesn't 'alf look good!
I'm off up the Ben this evening :)
Mike Lates - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to wee jamie: Very true indeed; I even got a couple of cracking shots myself today; check the blog out.
North faces were rimed & old snow hard but much of the fresh stuff was on the way out on south faces; no need for crampons on Am Basteir. A full day of sun should have conditions back to Traverse standard (without crampons) by Sunday hopefully.
wee jamie on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Wow Mike, great shots! Looking down the SE ridge of Gillean is excellent.
I'm off to Stob Ban now (in time for sunrise!)
Jasonic - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Nice pics- are you starting the traverse by boat?
Mike Lates - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to Jasonic: Yep; now 8-45am from Elgol Sunday morning if anyone wants to join; 16pp one-way. Call me or AquaXplore folk on 01471866244
monkeyboyraw - on 30 Apr 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Hi Mike, just a quick one to check up on conditions as headed up end of the week. Cheers Ross
Mike Lates - on 02 May 2012
In reply to monkeyboyraw: Stunning. Hill very dry & warming up. Not heard about Pinn Ridge but one of the guides was heading up there yesterday so will post as soon as.
vscott - on 02 May 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Main ridge in excellent condition - bits of snow about on N/E faces but all easily passable + enough up there (for a few more days at least) to melt for water if required.
Mike Lates - on 02 May 2012
In reply to monkeyboyraw: All routes will now go without crampons with care. We'll have to see what effect the drop in temperature has over the weekend; hopefully cold but dry & no new snow (sorry Jamie!)
LJ - on 03 May 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: In 2 minds about heading up for an attempt this weekend. Forecast looks cold, any thoughts on worth a gamble? Would want to do it over two days. Any thoughts appreciated
Mike Lates - on 03 May 2012
In reply to LJ: Firstly wait & see if overnight precipitation lays new snow tonight; game over if much comes down.
Sat looks good but cloud may be hanging in on Sun so could depend on how well you know the route. Also if temp low & cloud then could be rime.
Overall leave decision to last minute, say lunch tomorrow. Off in the morning so will give you an update.
LJ - on 03 May 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Thanks for the knowledge, any update tommorow would be greatly appreciated
Mike Lates - on 04 May 2012
In reply to LJ: Very cold today but doesn't look like any new snow.
XC is showing a brief weak blip to westerly sat pm but mainly good north/noreasterlies.
Pretty ideal for it I would say but don't skimp on the bivvy kit! Enough gas to melt snow may be easier than locating water (clues for this in the new guidebook).
Have fun,
MIke
Mike Lates - on 04 May 2012
In reply to LJ: No snow but glaze of ice at the north end this morning put paid to attempts on Gillean & Basteir. Could be gone in a second of sunshine but thought best to warn you.
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LJ - on 04 May 2012
In reply to Mike Lates: Thanks for the excellent updates, it's really appreciated, unfortunately work got in the way for me, but have friends en route up there do I will let them know, thanks again

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