/ Winter conditions in Norries or the Ben

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craig.coid - on 16 Nov 2012
Does anyone know (locals?) if there are reasonable conditions for the northern corries (doubtful?) or the Ben for this weekend? NEB worth a shout?
Thanks
CurlyStevo - on 16 Nov 2012
george mc - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid:

No snow at all at all currently. Just wet and windy ming. Due to get colder at the weekend but given it's been nearly 15 degrees here in Aviemore it would have to be a second ice age in 24hrs to freeze anything I reckon.
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid:

Nothing worth speaking about in the Cairngorms and even then you'd only hear about it after it's been climbed ;-)

The good new is that it's to get slightly colder with gales and snow on the highest summits!
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid:

I'm going to look see what Saturday blows in and maybe take a punt on Sunday.

NEB could be desperate with thin cover - V,6 perhaps?
CurlyStevo - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
Which bit would be tech 6?
Robert Durran - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to craig.coid)
> NEB could be desperate with thin cover - V,6 perhaps?

I suspect that it really is V,6 anyway. In fact all four of the Nevis ridges are probably undergraded, simply because it would be a bit embarrassing to admit to finding a classic done in the 19th century really quite hard and to conspicuously upgrade it. Actually the exception is probably Tower Ridge which has already been upgraded to IV, probably to cut down on the number of people underestimating it and having epics and needing rescuing (maybe the mountain rescue insisted!). Observatory is solid V in my opinion and Castle seemed a sandbag at III to me last weekend.

dek - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead)
> Which bit would be tech 6?

The Mantrap can feel very awkward early season, and the alternative groove is tricky too when thin.
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to craig.coid)
>
> I'm going to look see what Saturday blows in and maybe take a punt on Sunday.
>
> NEB could be desperate with thin cover - V,6 perhaps?

Or just a wet Diff with a bit of wet snow on it...
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

Forecast suggests that the top at least will be frozen.
LakesWinter on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: I don't know, the NEB seemed fair to me at IV 4 when I did it in foul weather and partly frozen neve one April. It was certainly stacks easier than Menage a Trois for example at V 6
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

The first time I did NEB it was a neve-romp with only one move on a banked-up Mantrap being worthy of IV. However having since been on it in wet summer conditions I can imagine what the Mantrap and other sections would be like without build-up. Others have also suggested V,6 for these kind of conditions.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to dek:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> The Mantrap can feel very awkward early season, and the alternative groove is tricky too when thin.

I thought you may say that. TBH I think the man trap is not really any harder when lean with axes than in walking boots in summer as there are some bomber thin hooks for your axes. On the day I found the 40 foot corner harder. I didn't find NEB particularly hard for a IV though.

I must admit though in summer I found the man trap atleast 4a.
CurlyStevo - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
I did it late in the season but it had been sunny and dry for a while. The man trap wasn't that banked up was bone dry on the rock. As mentioned the bomber hooks in thin cracks made it easier than you'd imagine.
AlH - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead: I've done the MT a couple of times in less than ideal conditions (wet snow and powder) and thought IV,5. Its never felt as hard as the tech 6 I've done. But its a sandbag move for VDiff in summer.
Chucking it down at the moment and has been all day in Fort William. Feels a little cooler though and I reckon this may be falling as wet snow on the very tops- we need it because there was nothing left visible on Aonach Mor or the CMD Arete yesterday.
craig.coid - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid: Great info guys; many thanks. Norries out...NEB somewhere between a wet diff and V6. Bad place to find out it's the latter me thinks. Maybe take a jaunt up and see what's hot and what's not on the day. Thanks again for all advice - not done NEB in winter but had heard it was somewhat harder in thin conditions...cheers
CurlyStevo - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH:
"But its a sandbag move for VDiff in summer."

I think after I did it I was thinking perhaps a couple of moves of 4b! But I'm sure others will disagree and I was wearing walking boots!
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid:

Who said the Norries were out? No snow on them at the moment, but that can change.
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH:

Still a Diff in my guidebook, has a bit fallen off!
Andy Nisbet - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:
> (In reply to AlH)
has a bit fallen off!

No, just lots of climbers!

Tim Davies - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid:


An early season attempt (november) on the mantrap was much harder than observatory ridge tackled later on in the year. 40ft corner was a near stopper for my mate (an E4 leader).
Guess it all depends upon the conditions.
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to AlH)
> "But its a sandbag move for VDiff in summer."
>
> I think after I did it I was thinking perhaps a couple of moves of 4b! But I'm sure others will disagree and I was wearing walking boots!

Same here, walking boots in the summer with a scrambling rack and short rope. Surely folk don't climb it with rock boots these days?

Winter with a mountaineering axe, Northface piton hammer and strap on crampons.

I would have thought the Mantrap would be easier the taller you are ;-)
george mc - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:
> (In reply to craig.coid)
>
> Who said the Norries were out? No snow on them at the moment, but that can change.

Yeah who needs that nasty cold to freeze stuff together and firm up the turf?
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
> [...]
> has a bit fallen off!
>
> No, just lots of climbers!

Out of interest does the new guidebook mention the 'puddy ups' mentioned in Stead and Marshall's Ben Nevis guide?
AlH - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
> (In reply to Ron Walker)
> [...]
> has a bit fallen off!
>
> No, just lots of climbers!

LOL!
AlH - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to george mc:
> (In reply to Jamie Bankhead)
> [...]
>
> Yeah who needs that nasty cold to freeze stuff together and firm up the turf?

Also LOL!
AlH - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker: No do tell? And for what its worth It is still a big boot route but (I may be getting older) but the foothold on the right definitely feels like its getting worse because of all the crampon scrabbling. The rock there is scraped worse than Magic Crack!
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to george mc:

> who needs that nasty cold to freeze stuff together and firm up the turf?

I was thinking of those routes for which turf isn't an issue, and no I've no intention of climbing in plus freezing conditions. Agree it's marginal, but wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Ron Walker) No do tell? And for what its worth It is still a big boot route but (I may be getting older) but the foothold on the right definitely feels like its getting worse because of all the crampon scrabbling. The rock there is scraped worse than Magic Crack!

Just looked at the old guide and the new guidebook fails to mention a few things!
Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

Gardyloo Gully in verglass is a fun early season route!
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

> Gardyloo Gully in verglass is a fun early season route!

It sure is - did you hear about my arial retreat in November 2002?

Ron Walker - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

No!!!
I'm only talking about my personal experience climbing a desperate smooth verglassed wall at the top with my walking axe and new state of the art 'Highrange Northface piton hammer!
Do tell ;-)
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Ron Walker:

Let's just say I was younger and dafter, you could have driven a bus under the chockstone, the leaning verglassed groove felt about grade VI, and if there hadn't been soft snow below it things might have been a lot worse!
Cuthbert on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

I believe it was through that incident that we first met....
Jamie B - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:

Indeed, the loss and subsequent retrieval of my ice-axe became something of a UKC classic! It was a smaller and friendlier village then...
Cuthbert on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Jamie Bankhead:

And there were more climbers then too!
Mike Pescod - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid: Hi Craig,

There's still a fair bit of snow on Ben Nevis just now. You'll certainly find old patches on NEB down to about 1100m. There's not enough to make for nice climbing though and with fresh snow covering the rocks it could be quite a tricky climb this weekend.

Then again, we don't go climbing because it's easy!

There's a picture here showing the snow on Ben Nevis - http://www.abacusmountaineering.com/currentconditions.html

and here -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/abacusmountaineering/8190917518/in/set-72157632023143777

As you can see there's no snow in the 40' Corner.

Mike
Mike Pescod - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH: I put NEB and Observatory Ridge down as IV,5 in the Winter Climbs Guidebook. I was close to putting Observatory Ridge as V,5. I don't know of anyone who has said OR is steady away grade IV.

Kenny G came back from his first time on NEB saying it was at least tech 6!

Don't want to encourage grade creep though - is IV,5 fair for North East Buttress and Observatory Ridge?

Mike
Only a hill - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Mike Pescod:
Thanks for the pics--worth knowing as I'm considering a trip next week!
James Gordon - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Mike Pescod: FWIW I think NEB really can vary from III5 to IV5 or harder if off route (did a move of 6 once). Observatory IV5 to V5. Again variation dependent eg. Straight up lower corner or move right onto rib, and left or right of at the top of the tricky climbing before the ridge lies back. Obs Ridge is more sustained and has that longer more serious upper section but 40ft corner can be hard if unconsolidated?
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AlH - on 16 Nov 2012
In reply to Mike Pescod: That's great that there are plenty of blobs for the next snowfall to adhere to! I think you're right with IV,5 Obs Ridge I've not done in winter yet (and not for want of trying!).
craig.coid - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to Mike Pescod:
> (In reply to craig.coid) Hi Craig,
>
> There's a picture here showing the snow on Ben Nevis - http://www.abacusmountaineering.com/currentconditions.html
>
> and here -
>
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/abacusmountaineering/8190917518/in/set-72157632023143777
>
> As you can see there's no snow in the 40' Corner.
>
> Mike

Thanks Mike and others, info appreciated. We are coming up and will follow the nose on the end of our face and see where we end up...'strategy'!
craig.coid - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to craig.coid: Well, of a sorts!
AlH - on 17 Nov 2012
craig.coid - on 17 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH: Thanks for link - big changes!

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