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Topic - Ben Nevis Winter Climbing Conditions 12 December 2012

We're still getting great weather and enjoying brilliant climbing conditions on Ben Nevis.

The thaw of Saturday did not penetrate at all deep into the snow pack above 1200m and even below that the snow is quite crusty in places. Creag Coire na Ciste and Number Three Gully Buttress are well rimed up still. At lower levels there is plenty of snow on the ledges but the rocks are not rimed up.

Ice has been forming quite well. The Curtain has a healthy smear on it but is not quite fat enough to climb yet. The Carn Dearg Cascades (AKA Organ Pipes, CIC Hut Cascades) are forming quickly and as well as all the usual drainage lines. Point Five Gully looks fat and there is ice on Hadrian's Wall Direct, Zero Gully and Orion Face. However, I think the snow in these gullies will not be good enough to climb yet - leave it for another good thaw and refreeze before you venture into Point Five Gully. Having said that, Green Gully was climbed on Monday.

Yesterday I climbed NE Buttress. The approach to the First Platform has plenty of ice but it can be avoided on the snow. The route was excellent even though the snow was not much help. It is mostly dry and loose under a crust. There's now a very nice line of steps up the whole climb which I think the team behind us will have appreciated!

There's a good set of pictures here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/abacusmountaineering/sets/72157632225897709/

Happy climbing!

Mike
http://www.abacusmountaineering.com/currentconditions.html

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