/ Scottish Winter Conditions 2013-2014

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masa-alpin - on 06 Nov 2013
The hills in Highland looking already wintery, let's kick-start the condition thread!
It seems a few team have climbed ridges in Cairngorm Northern Corries. And Aonach Eagach.
Any one knows the current conditions in Ben? (It seems to warm up towards the weekend...)

So far, this is the photo of Cairngorms taken from Glenmore yesterday (5 Nov 2013).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpiniste/10706161794/
Masa
Milesy - on 06 Nov 2013
A single thread for Scottish conditions? Good luck :D
Michael Gordon - on 06 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:

So basically the whole winter forum in one thread?!
masa-alpin - on 07 Nov 2013
The same as the past years. As I understand the thread of this (sort of) title was used as the starting point of the winter-climbing conditions in Scotland (but not anywhere else like Wales or Lakes, obviously!) - but obviously how it is used is entirely up to the UKC users. People often created or followed the threads of different and more specific titles, such as, 'Lochnagar conditions'. Personally I liked that way, and I was surprised to find there had been no thread of this one this year, yet, despite the fact there have been a fair amount of snow fall in Highland.

Anyway, a note of caution is that the threads with a title that contains 'condition' or alike will appear in the winter-condition summary page, and so are useful!
I have found this forums about the winter conditions have been very useful in the past years, and I am sure it is the same for many of you - let's keep the good tradition!
masa-alpin - on 10 Nov 2013
Went to Coire an t-Sneachda yesterday (9 November 2013).
A few of my photos are uploaded here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpiniste/sets/72157637504994886/
There were a fair number of parties (a dozen or more?). A good amount of powdery snow was there and the scenery was properly wintery. However the ice was hardly formed - Aladdin's Mirror Direct was not seen, for example. Almost no neve, and although the temperature was freezing (-3 degC in the corrie at midday) throughout the day the turfs were hardly frozen, yet.
Today (Sunday) it was raining even at the Cairngorms ski resort carpark at 7:30am and was soggy at 1 degC. There was a very little temperature difference between the valley and carpark. The hills being covered with fog or clouds, and knowing there would be little ice/neve, we thought it wouldn't be a nice day for winter-climbing, and turned back...
For your information! Masa
sbc_10 - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> A single thread for Scottish conditions? Good luck.

Yes, I think a single thread that just shows picture links and condition reports should be encouraged. Maybe with the "Reply" button in some way disabled or partially activated so that you can post but not hold a running conversation. <that might be easier said than done>
Any side topics, "What gear do I need for Fingers Ridge...etc?" can be taken up elsewhere.
We seem to be able to string the "What is a bump?" thread along successfully enough.

Alas, I know that by mentioning this I have split the thread already, eggs....omelettes ...anyone?

Good luck Masa-Alpin.

andymac - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Crampon weather this morning methinks in Argyll

Clear skies ,nasty frost ,and yesterday's low level snow/hail.

Should be refreshing
AlH - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Yes started grey and turned unto a stunning bluesky day… great for a walk. By 10 the clouds were rolling back and there was no wind in Coire an t Sneachda at all. When we came out late afternoon the light as stunning.
andymac - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

A glorious day to be on the hills.

The crunch and sparkle of the snow was great.

Not that cold either.
euanryan on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Thoughts on SCnL mixed routes for the coming week anyone?
AlH - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to euanryan: Cack now Euan and cacker to come. Deep soft snow on approach. Temps 0-3 at 900m and gales. Turf not frozen. Blocks loose. Wait for winter… it'll be much better.
Webster - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: You made the wrong choice I am afraid! today was one of the best days weather wise I have ever had in the Norries! granted there is no usefull ice or neve but the snowed up rock routes were in stunning nick! Did hidden chimney and the haston line today, they were at the higher end of their suggested grades due to the thin early season conditions, which made them even better in my opinion (haston line was tech 5 crux, but still III). I think nearly all the snowed up rock routes between grades Iv and VI were climbed in the corrie today!
NottsRich on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster: I've not climbed in the Northern Corries before and don't really know the area. Are there any routes of III or easier IV that are in condition, or were at the weekend?
CurlyStevo - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster:
(haston line was tech 5 crux, but still III)

Haston Line rarely gets much build up on the crux sections to make it easier. I've done it twice and never had any usable neve or ice. That said I think it's nails for tech 4 normally anyway.

In a very heavy winter the ledges can get so built up (and so much hore frost and snow on the slabs) that a lot of climbs get much easier (but bolder) but that is not the conditions the climbs are graded for.
Brian Pollock - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to NottsRich:

Hey Rich, I did Short Circuit IV 5 in Coire an T'Sneachda on Saturday. Felt very thin at the crux but really enjoyable. I'd like to say felt tech 6 but having never climbed tech 6 I couldn't say. Also spent a lot of time excavating the route from under deep powder snow resulting in an after dark top out. For this reason I would probably pick something that has seen some traffic already or allow a little extra time.

Hidden Chimney III or IV with direct start looked good and probably a better option than the above as I think it starts a bit lower down if you do the direct start so you can avoid some of the wading through powder.

I expect it's all a soggy mess today though.

Hope you manage to get out.
CurlyStevo - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
Looks like quite a lot of snow has survived the thaw (butresses are stripped mostly back but looks like easier angled ground, large ledges and gullies are still holding snow (and getting better with a refreeze). Temperature is dropping back to freezing now, more snow forecast with what looks like more freeze than thaw over the next wee while.

Looks like good building conditions to me.

http://www.winterhighland.info/cams/cairngorm-mountain/morlich.php






Euge - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Did Ring of Steall on Saturday and Aonach Eagach yesterday... Loads of snow but not much ice. The Ben was covered in whiteness...
Turf will be well insulated now so this slight thaw will do it good.
Wouldn't want to have been climbing :o)

E
NottsRich on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock: Thanks Brian, appreciate the tip off. I saw your pictures earlier - looked impressive!

Will have to wait until the next weekend now before I can get out. Hopefully some good consolidation happens between now and then!
purkle - on 11 Nov 2013
On this note, does anyone know of an online forecast that also includes conditions of lying snow / ice? The SAIS avalanche forecast seems to but its not active yet; can't find any other info on other sites about winter conditions, apart from precipitation that day..?
Ta :)
By the way this forum will be very useful to me, but better if I can check all areas rather than some wee specific areas folks have been...
Andy Nisbet - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

It does say in the SMC guide Scottish Winter Climbs, that it is III,5 in lean conditions.
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NottsRich on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to purkle: The MWIS forecast shows the predicted freezing levels which can be useful. Sometimes also states if they expect freeze/thaw and consolidation as well, but not always.
Jamie B - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Short Circuit - was the turf not mush under all that powder? Not convinced that we should be promoting ascents of such routes.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
Fair enough, that's probably the conditions I've mostly found it in as mid to late season I tend to head west.

Looks about III,3 here (if I am looking at the crux step just after the first belay, which I'm not 100% sure I am)

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=164605
Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yes that's the crux and like all the slabby routes on Mess of Pottage, varies a lot in grade according to the build-up. Two years ago, I and others soloed Yukon Jack at Grade III but I know it's not that grade at present!
Webster - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: No that's deffinately not the crux! see my comment on the picture, the crux is the 3rd of the 3 short corners in the pitch just before you start heading up towards the slant, that is the first corner which is maybe tech 4 in lean conditions.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo) No that's deffinately not the crux! see my comment on the picture, the crux is the 3rd of the 3 short corners in the pitch just before you start heading up towards the slant, that is the first corner which is maybe tech 4 in lean conditions.

I suggest you argue it out with Andy Nesbit who part authored the Cairngorms definitive guide.

The first proper corner looks like this IMHO.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=101601
Brian Pollock - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Yes, the turf was unusable and this was evident from the approach. However, the lower section was easy angled enough to get up simply wading through snow with the odd rocky step (picking the path of least resistance and perhaps not the true line). The upper corner and groove were pretty much snowed up rock.

It didn't appear particularly reliant on turf to me, though as mentioned, it's likely we didn't take the true line in the lower half.

Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo) No that's deffinately not the crux! see my comment on the picture, the crux is the 3rd of the 3 short corners in the pitch just before you start heading up towards the slant, that is the first corner which is maybe tech 4 in lean conditions.

I thought it was the third of three but happy to be told not.

CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
I'm pretty sure you were right Andy as I remember the block at the top of the corner and using it to hook my axe over and you can see it in the first pic I linked. I also remember what the first corner looked like and I'm pretty sure that was the corner in the second pic I linked - that looks very different. I think webster is getting confused because of the change in conditions between the picture (ie well built up in a heavy winter) and the conditions he climbed it in (ie early season lean nick)

Stevo
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster:
If you check this video you can see pretty clearly that what I said was correct, the build is just a lot more in the first pic I linked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB7UxK4VKSg
CMcBain - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Pretty sure the picture you linked earlier is the guidebook crux corner of the haston line (3rd corner). From memory the next corner is where the route joins yukon jack and then into the slant.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=107874 (Just above and left of the two climbers is the crux corner as I remember it)

I done it last year in lean conditions and thought III 4 was fair as its only one well protected step and the rest of it is fairly easy. I done it a second time later in the winter and the crux corner was almost completely buried and the cracks were iced but the pull over the corner was much easier.

Anyway, was nice to see loads of people out enjoying the good weather and early season conditions on Sunday. Me and a friend romped up The Message and Hidden Chimney Direct (Thanks all the previous teams who cleared all the gear and hooks for me on HC!). Seemed like all the snowed up steep rock routes were in good condition but the turf wasn't frozen, so choose routes accordingly!
MrRiley - on 12 Nov 2013
Does anyone have any pictures from Sunday of people climbing on Mess of Pottage that they would be willing to share? We did Hidden Chimney Direct (no worries on the cleaning front...) and finished up the normal route. Out of interest, with no build up and quite heavy rime, what grade do people think the top pitch of Hidden Chimeny goes at? III, 4 maybe?
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:
Its definitely a bit harder with lean build up at the top. Its a route I've done numerous times as its one of the few that doesn't really rely on turf (there is some where it joins the slant but I doubt its crucial) so a good early season tick. that said its not as hard as the top of glovers or the haston line for example.
MrRiley - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Yeah good point, I remember finding the cruxy corner on Haston Line trickier, but then again I did that very early season a few years ago now so it might have warranted the tech 5 grade. I thought Hidden Chimney under Sunday's conditions was absolutely superb!
Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:

The top is a bit knowing how to do it. The moves below are harder. Did you climb the top chockstone direct; that's definitely harder?
MrRiley - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet: At the top chockstone we stepped up and right on to small ledges below a wall with horizontal breaks. With both axes torqued in a break at chest height I then bridged out left above the chockstone and pulled over it from there. Entertaining stuff!
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
"The moves below are harder"

Do you think? Where abouts? I've always found the crux around where you go up right a bit and left back in to the finishing short chimney section, the wider chimney below I've normally found pretty straight forward. Of course the direct start is much harder.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:
snap :) When I first did it, it wasn't so early season and there was build up like a small narrow gully in the top making it easier so the crux is the bit around where you step left, however when very lean I found the next bit a bit harder.
Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Andy Nisbet)
> "The moves below are harder"
>
> Do you think? Where abouts? I've always found the crux around where you go up right a bit and left back in to the finishing short chimney section, the wider chimney below I've normally found pretty straight forward. Of course the direct start is much harder.

Below what's normally the crux is a big flat stone, hollow behind (chockstone really). Below that is a step up with holds only on the left wall, then a step up with your left foot in a wide crack which you have to trust. As soon as you get any ice or build-up, this becomes much easier. Just my opinion of course.

Gael Force - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Don't think the Haston line is anywhere near tech 5, IMO of course, makes you think for one move, then thats it, and its bombproof.
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MrRiley - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gael Force: Yeah very true, I've only climbed a handful of mixed routes graded tech 5 and they have all been substantially harder than The Haston Line
Michael Gordon - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:

Haston Line I'd say easy IV,4 or even III,4. If you continue the line into the top pitch of Droidless then fair enough, tech 5 would be about right.
franksnb - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley: its a solid II/III for me ;)
jazzyjackson on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gael Force:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo) Don't think the Haston line is anywhere near tech 5, IMO of course, makes you think for one move, then thats it, and its bombproof.

+1
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
OK I guess everyone finds stuff different, that just felt like leading a bit of awkward vdiff climbing to me (felt as in felt the same given it was covered in snow and I had axes and crampons on), whilst the top section is more balancy and technical (for me anyways). Still I'm pretty sure you'll have the better balanced view on climbing grades than I do :)
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to jazzyjackson:
The only tech five mixed I've ever climbed is on hidden chimney direct and then I was seconding so I can't tell :) I do find the crux of the haston line quite hard (done it twice in fairly average sort of nick).
Nigel Thomson - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:
>
Out of interest, with no build up and quite heavy rime, what grade do people think the top pitch of Hidden Chimeny goes at? III, 4 maybe?

I've climbed it lean before and found it very good value, III 4 about right. The direct start is a great pitch.

Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MrRiley:
> (In reply to Andy Nisbet) At the top chockstone we stepped up and right on to small ledges below a wall with horizontal breaks. With both axes torqued in a break at chest height I then bridged out left above the chockstone and pulled over it from there. Entertaining stuff!

I find it much easier if you don't bridge out left but just go round the corner.

Andy Nisbet - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to the weegy:
> (In reply to MrRiley)
> [...]
> Out of interest, with no build up and quite heavy rime, what grade do people think the top pitch of Hidden Chimeny goes at? III, 4 maybe?
>
> I've climbed it lean before and found it very good value, III 4 about right. The direct start is a great pitch.

Yes probably is, but only very lean and whether that's worth mentioning?

Webster - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Yep i see it now, i concede! i take it all back (though my oppinion of the conditions related grade still stands)
Webster - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gael Force: as we have mentioned the tech grade is very conditions dependent, and as you say it is bombproof (with in-situ tat at chest height) hence the grade of III 5 - very safe with 1 move far harder than anything you would usually come accross on a grade III
Michael Gordon - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Webster:

Dunno, I've done Haston Line in early season nick (i.e. no build up) and didn't seem anywhere near tech 5, just easy IV,4
The Ghost Rider - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Deep powder snow on Ben Nevis, CMD Arete, Dorsal Arete and Biedan Nam Bien. Very difficult to make progress in some areas, and evidence of an avalanche was present in number 5 gully on Nevis. Very unstable looking cornice as well!
Jamie B - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The Ghost Rider:

> evidence of an avalanche was present in number 5 gully on Nevis.

When was that please?
Nigel Thomson - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
> (In reply to the weegy)
> [...]
>
> Yes probably is, but only very lean and whether that's worth mentioning?

Yeah, certainly not from a guidebook perspective. We want to be able to carry the book.

Webster - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The Ghost Rider: when was this, deep powder even after Mondays big thaw?
NottsRich on 15 Nov 2013
Red Rover - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: What kind of conditions are good for CMD arete? I'm planning on doing it this weekend. Whats the approach like for avalanches etc?
Red Rover - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover: Next weekend even
Andy Nisbet - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:
> (In reply to masa-alpin) What kind of conditions are good for CMD arete? I'm planning on doing it this weekend. Whats the approach like for avalanches etc?

The better the walking conditions, the quicker and easier it will be. Very safe from avalanches, assuming you stick to the crest and don't go on any steep slopes collecting snow. But if the snow is deep and soft, you might be safe but it would be very hard work.

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Red Rover - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Ok thanks, so the approach to and up CMD, as well as teh descent via the tourist path, is normally safe as well as the ridge itself?
Nigel Thomson - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:
> (In reply to masa-alpin) Ok thanks, so the approach to and up CMD, as well as teh descent via the tourist path, is normally safe as well as the ridge itself?

Pretty much, yeah.
Andy Nisbet - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:
> (In reply to masa-alpin) Ok thanks, so the approach to and up CMD, as well as teh descent via the tourist path, is normally safe as well as the ridge itself?

You would have to be careful in bad conditions going up the Ben after the Arete, but it would have to be bad. On the descent, if conditions are doubtful, stick to the path and don't go down the Red Burn. But normally no problem

BruceM - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

We and several other parties abandoned Ledge Route and Tower Ridge on that beautiful last Sunday, becasue of the new deepish soft snow (and not 100% stable). That was our reason anyway. Instead we bashed straight up one of those ribs leading to CMD summit in the big blue sun. Those ribs were icey and very nice. The crest of CMD wasn't quite firm enough to make it fast, but almost!

Since then it's been hot!
joe.91 - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: what do people reckon abut conditions in the cairngorms from Tuesday given the cold spell?
Webster - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to joe.91: It will need to snow again first (or pregferably after a day or 2 of cold)...
joe.91 - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: forecast heavy snow monday and cold for the rest of the week!
Cuthbert on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to joe.91:

Which forecast are you looking at?
joe.91 - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: mwis and snow forecast
Relayer - on 16 Nov 2013
Just looking for an update, is *anything* remotely in condition at the moment? Looking for something to do tomorrow, easy grades.
planetmarshall on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to joe.91: For mixed routes relying on turf you'd want the opposite scenario, a long freeze followed by snowfall as the snow would insulate the turf from a freeze.

That said, I don't have the experience to say whether 3-4 days overnight sub zero temperatures would be sufficient to freeze the turf in the Cairngorms at this time of year.
Dave Kerr - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to Relayer:
> Just looking for an update, is *anything* remotely in condition at the moment? Looking for something to do tomorrow, easy grades.

No chance in the Northern Corries tomorrow. Was up today for a stomp and although there are still some big snow patches about it was mild and soggy all the way to the top.

Maybe next week if this cold snap comes in

joe.91 - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to planetmarshall: aye well I'm after things thats don't rely on turf like fingers ridge so just needs a good amount of snow. Forecast heavy snow showers from monday and -6 at 900m, so sounds ideal!
Dave Kerr - on 16 Nov 2013
In reply to joe.91:
> (In reply to planetmarshall) aye well I'm after things thats don't rely on turf like fingers ridge so just needs a good amount of snow.

And a hard frost to glue in all them shoogly blocks.
Red Rover - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to the weegy: Whats the best approach to CMD? The UKH route card says to go all the way up to the CIC hut then slog directly up the slope, I'm guessing thats a bad idea in winter, is it better to leave the CIC track early and head left up to the start of the ridge that CMD is on?
estivoautumnal - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover

Yes. There is a path and it's quite obvious. You then go over the top of CMD.
Red Rover - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to estivoautumnal: Thanks.
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:

> The UKH route card says to go all the way up to the CIC hut then slog directly up the slope, I'm guessing thats a bad idea in winter, is it better to leave the CIC track early and head left up to the start of the ridge that CMD is on?

Going direct from the CIC is a bad idea at any time; it's a long grind up loose ground. I have no idea why the UKH route card and other guides suggest it, it's a seriously flawed suggestion. Taking the faint path up the north shoulder of CMD is far more enjoyable!

Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Relayer:

> Just looking for an update, is *anything* remotely in condition at the moment? Looking for something to do tomorrow, easy grades.

Looking across to Bidean and Stob Coire nan Lochain today, still quite a lot of snow on high northerly aspects, which has likely refrozen. You'd definitely want crampons if you were crossing these, but aside from Broad Gully it's unlikely that any climbs will be complete.

Red Rover - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B: Yes I thought it was an odd way of doing it. Maybe its so you can stop off at the hut or something but the slog up looks grim, no way Id want to do it in winter http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=212857
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Red Rover:

> I thought it was an odd way of doing it. Maybe its so you can stop off at the hut or something

Why would anyone want to stop at the hut? It's not as if you're going to be invited in for tea! It does act as a quite convenient piss-hub I suppose...
Red Rover - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B: I wondered that myself.
Cameron94 on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to BruceM: It was myself that you met just short of the narrowing, ended up not doing another route as I had the only headtorch.

It looked like the group bailing off tower ridge had a long slog ahead of them.

The team we saw on the Douglas Boulder climbed jacknife rather than cutlass as I thought.
SultanofMull - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

A shot and few notes on Ben Nevis today here ! Not as stripped as I thought up there today and the coming weather should improve things a bit.
http://dan-goodwin.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/ben-nevis-conditions.html
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to SultanofMull:

> Not as stripped as I thought up there today and the coming weather should improve things a bit.

I imagine that what's left will have firmed up nicely and provide some base. No. 3 is a good grade II in these conditions.
SultanofMull - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Certainly a base building in the right places, this week should set things up a bit further. May take another look tomorrow, will post the findings !
jacobfinn on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B: Today, I walked up the Lost Valley, onto the Stob Coire Sgreamhach then Bidean nam Bian, down to Stob Coire nan Lochan, and back to the car via Coire nan Lochan.

There was no snow anywhere except Broad Gully, and that looked horribly soft and wet.

I heard from another walker that some folk climbed Dorsal Arete but I can't believe that there was good snow or ice to be had. It was very mild today on the summits.
Dave Kerr - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to jacobfinn:

By early afernoon it was below 0 at 900m in the Monadh Liath.
Milesy - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to jacobfinn:

I was up a walk today. Broad gully only thing complete. A few teams on a completely black and unfrozen dorsal arête, and then death roping down broad gully.
Jamie B - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:

Dorsal was completely unfozen last weekend, but buried in soft snow. From the other side of the valley it looked completely black to me too - some self delusion going on there!
Milesy - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

I walked the full rim of the corrie over and past the route itself and up to the summit. It was black. The gullies were all mostly soil and screw.
In reply to Jamie B: You've got a point re CIC-CMD. When I wrote that UKH route a couple of years ago that's just the way I'd always accessed the ridge, when coming from the Allt a' Mhuilinn side anyway. Last couple of times I realised the NW flank of CBD is far nicer. I'll amend the route when i get a chance
Only a hill - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:
Were they climbing with axe + crampons, or just scrambling? I believe Dorsal makes a (probably unpleasant) scramble, although I haven't dared to try it myself given the number of loose blocks around.
Blackmud on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

Crampons, no axes (I didn't anyway, I think some of the others had one out). The fin was icy enough that just boots would have been treacherous in places. It was definitely more on the scrambling side of things though. Still good fun.
Blackmud on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Blackmud:

Also, thanks to the chaps who offered friendly advice about the ropes on the descent. It was my first time on a gully, now I know that that would've been a bad idea. Ta very much
NottsRich on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Blackmud:
> (In reply to Blackmud)
>
> Also, thanks to the chaps who offered friendly advice about the ropes on the descent.

Out of interest, what was the advice and reasons given for it? Ta.
Blackmud on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to NottsRich:

Don't descend with half the rope each and a few metres in between because if one falls and doesn't arrest in time the other will be pulled off. Seems pretty obvious now but such is the life of a beginner.
Milesy - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to NottsRich:
> (In reply to Blackmud)
> [...]
>
> Out of interest, what was the advice and reasons given for it? Ta.

Death roping. Descending steep snow tied to your partner with a trailing rope. :)
Offwidth - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy:

A useful technique sometimes for experienced climbers looking after beginners. Broad Gully sees far more dangerous practices eg 'blind leap of faith' uncontrolled bum sliding into unknown snow conditions wearing crampons (sometimes into climbers coming the other way). Dorsal Arete is also madness if its not frozen: a detached block could easily kill someone.
Milesy - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Which never involves a trailing rope. Least experienced goes first downwards with more experienced keeping rope tight behind them. Death roping isn't short roping.
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NottsRich on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy: That was my understanding too, with about 1-2m of rope between the 'leader' at the back and the 'client' at the front. I knew there were different views on it so thought I'd ask. Just wondered what advice was given to the guy above.
Milesy - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to NottsRich:

It was me that advised him :) and I could see they were beginners so I advised that with a dangling ripe between them while down climbing a gully if one popped off then even if the other braced or arrested the force generated when the rope came right would yank him right off with him :)
Dave Kerr - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I'm thinking that for this thread to work it needs to be conditions info only otherwise the info you seek will be buried like wet turf under powder.
Milesy - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

And my very first post said, it would never work. Threads can never be controlled on here. :)
Pummelzacken - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: sorry, maybe I should have put this one in here...?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=569659
euanryan on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: I'd be interested to see what today's cold and last night's snow fall has done for the hills?
AlH - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to euanryan: Pics from Ledge Route today. Some consolidated snow buried under the fresh powder. More snow now falling on much stronger winds. Turf under snow not really frozen anywhere I was today and water running under snow at 850m. A little rime above 1000m on eposed NW facing rocks. http://alanhalewood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/plenty-snow-but-turf-still-not-frozen.html Wild now. Strong winds and precipitation.
AlH - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH: A strong team did Slab Climb today and said the turf on steeper ground at that height was pretty good- less snow on steeper ground giving less insulation?
Robertgiddy - on 19 Nov 2013
Hi All, I am hoping to get a first route done for the season this weekend and was wondering if people think the gullies on The Ben are in (e.g gardyloo, tower gully, number two etc).
AlH - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to Robertgiddy: There is some firm snow at present and some soft rubbish over the firm snow or over rubble. Its impossible to tell from a distance what is what but nothing is particularly full (I could see a wee rocky step on No. 2 today and No.3 has some rock showing that often disappears later in the season). Its snowing again up there just now and will be very windy tomorrow and its hard to tell exactly where that snow will go but the gully's need time to build and certainly aren't in great nick yet. Just to get that far up Observatory Gully would entail an endless flog up powder covered scree.
alex toomey - on 20 Nov 2013
hoping to get out this weekend and noticed climbs are being done in Sneachda and Lochan, is the turf frozen?
Andy Nisbet - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to alex toomey:
> hoping to get out this weekend and noticed climbs are being done in Sneachda and Lochan, is the turf frozen?

Very likely

GaryK - on 21 Nov 2013
In reply to alex toomey: I've just got in from Savage Slit, and not all the turf is frozen so be careful, test every placement. The new snow has made the going heavy in places, though our tracks and those of 2 others will probably help. There is a lot of snow stuck to the rock, so no hassle from the ethics committee. Watch your ankles in the boulder fields, there are a lot of deep holes.
Sandy Paterson - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Cha-No yesterday well rimed up, new soft snow in sheltered areas and exposed turf frozen.
Andy Moles - on 22 Nov 2013
SCNL was a mixed bag yesterday, plenty of unfrozen turf under powder but some of the exposed stuff where it mattered was good, and snow conditions improved higher up the crag as well. Snow sticking to slabs, but most of the steeper rock was pretty black.
Ken Applegate - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Pretty good conditions on Creagan Cha-no in the Cairngorms today, with the crags rimed up and the turf largely frozen, although the freezing level did creep up above the crags later in the day.

http://goo.gl/AKZWAO
MrRiley - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Lochnagar in great nick for mixed routes today too
masa-alpin - on 22 Nov 2013
Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms was in good conditions today (Friday 22nd) for mixed routes. Turfs were well frozen (in Fiacaill Ridge at least), rocks well rimed. We saw a party in Invernookie, Fingers Ridge, Broken Gully (the visibility was poor all day except early in the morning).
Snow routes looked in poor condition, though. Even the top part of Goat Track was almost bare. Aladdin's Mirror is forming, but probably not yet in.
The snow level was below the carpark in the morning, and the walk-in was a pain on soft snow with a thick wind-slab surface. In that sense, I didn't expect there was so little snow on the crag. Nevertheless I heard it was better than yesterday. A fairly good track was made by the end of the day.
The temperature was below freezing all day in the corrie.
Masa
pebblespanker - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone been up into Corrie Fee yet? There was ice forming in the chimneys a couple of weeks back when we went for a nosey, thanks
franksnb - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to pebblespanker:

I'll have a look tomorrow for you. How's that for service!
Simon Wells - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to franksnb:

Wondered up Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor with some friends today, what ice remains is lose and detached, snow is wet and losing structure. Snow on the summit ridges was compacted and may survive, some gullies have consolidated snow at 800m plus. But was very warm and in Fort William we have complete cloud cover at 18:00. Not good
Richard Bentley - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Details of todays conditions on Ben Nevis are here as well as some pictures.
http://www.mountainmotion.co.uk/winter-courses/ben-nevis-conditions/
Andrew Holden - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Richard Bentley:

Nice one rich. Great blog
Tom Last - on 23 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon Wells:

D'oh!

Oh well, saved me a 1000 mile round trip for nowt, cheers for the update.
JohnnyW - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Oldinio:

> Nice one rich. Great blog

What he said ^^^^^ ! :)
Shaunmash - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Does anyone know if the turf is well frozen enough on Lochnagar for Central Buttress to be alright just now?
pebblespanker - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to franksnb:

Diamond, cheers mate :)
franksnb - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

had a look in clova there's some ice in the gullys but a lot of running water, it would need at least a week of very low temps. some turf frozen very little snow.
Brian Pollock - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I see some routes have now been done around Stob Coire nan Lochan. Does anyone know what conditions are like just now? Considering heading up next weekend but the turf was pretty soft on Aonach Eagach on Saturday so wondering if it's worth the bother.
Jamie B - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

This morning it's cold and crisp, and if turf is anything like what we encountered on another high west-coast crag yesterday, SCnL could be quite good, although it's always a bit dodgy until loose blocks get frozen in.

However, temperatures are set to soar over Tue and Wed, so even with colder conditions forecast for Friday it may well be that we will be back to square one.

Blackmud on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Turf was frozen on saturday. It all looked a bit like this http://imgur.com/60vlzq0,pANNTAf

and

http://imgur.com/60vlzq0,pANNTAf#1

Pics courtesy of My Mate Mick
Brian Pollock - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Thanks both. I'll keep an eye on it over the course of the week.
franksnb - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Blackmud:

what route are they on?
Michael Gordon - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to franksnb:

That's Haston Line on Mess of Pottage, so unlikely to be representative of Glen Coe!

Blackmud on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Oops yes meant to say that that was coire an t'sneachda! Apologies!
euanryan on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

So what has the recent warmth done to the hills? Anyone ventured out recently?
CurlyStevo - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to euanryan:

looks pretty bad on the web cams, I guess many of the high up major gullies are still there:

http://www.visit-fortwilliam.co.uk/the-ben-nevis-webcam-fort-william-scotland
http://www.winterhighland.info/cams/cairngorm-mountain/morlich.php
Dave Kerr - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to euanryan:

Mild and miserable on Meall a' Bhuchaille last night. 11 degrees at Glenmore. Some small snow patches hanging in there but pretty much back to square 1 from a build up point of view.
euanryan on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

*tears*
AlH - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to euanryan: Don't give up hope! Winter lives in the Coires and easy Gullies of Ben Nevis and there were even some icey smears still about today. The base of the snowpack has survived on Ben Nevis and I was up on my front points on ice for much of No.2 Gully today. Harder stuff is not there but the really hard stuff comes back in quickly anyway and although the popular lower grade climbs like Green, Comb, No. 3 Gully Buttress aren't climbable they are far from stripped.
AND the light was stunning above the inversion today!
http://alanhalewood.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/amazing-light-and-giving-rat-wee-nibble.html
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Tom Last - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:

Wow, great light indeed!
uclanclimber - on 28 Nov 2013
In reply to Tom Last:

Was there much left on ledge route. Thinking of that for Saturday provided the bottom of number 5 doesn't get loaded. The two forecasts are a little contrasting on how much snow there may be.

Loz
AlH - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to uclanclimber:

I glanced into No.5 and the base was a bit broken but the upper basin is still full of now firm snow. The slab coming out go No. 5 was almost bare of snow now but there was plenty snow on the uppermost part of the ridge (photo on the blog above).
uclanclimber - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:

Thanks for your reply, provided it doesn't dump it down today that might be a good shout. Weather looks ok tomorrow too. cheers
Brian Pollock - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Looking at the Cairngorm Mountain webcam and it's all looking a bit bare. Has anyone been up to Coire an t'Sneacha or Coire an Lochain recently?

I'm hoping some of todays stormy weather could set things up for an early start tomorrow before it thaws again.

mrbird - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock: yeah mate I've been up and around schneachda and lochain over the past few days. Schneachda is bare, a few wee patches of snow on fiacaill buttress. Lochain really bare as well but with some snow on the great slab and approaches. Hells lum has some ice smears on it. Hopefully it all gets a good covering today.

masa-alpin - on 29 Nov 2013
We went to Ben and climbed Gardyloo Gully. Complete, but (very) thin and extremely icy all the way (I'd give V 4 for today's conditions). It was perhaps only the decent route in condition up in Observatory Gully (maybe Good Friday Climb was in? And Tower Scoop? -- We didn't see either, so can't tell. What I can tell is all the buttress was pitch black at least in the morning.). Observatory Gully itself was very bare and almost all the snow was icy. As soon as we hit the snow line (fairly high up), we needed to put on crampons. The temperature was consistently below freezing, -3degC at 1pm at the summit. The corries looked more white than in the morning on our way back, presumably due to frequent snowfall during the day (To be honest I can't tell how much it was, as we were battling against spindrift while climbing... It was certainly snowing during our descent).
Masa
Shaunmash - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone think easy mixed/buttresses would be worth a punt mid-week anywhere this coming week?
Andy Nisbet - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Shaunmash:

I climbed Pygmy Ridge at lunchtime today and while it was in winter nick first thing, it was only semi-winter at lunchtime (thawing). Turf wasn't frozen either. But it was fun and the lads ahead of me started much earlier and can count a winter ascent (just in case they read this). Tomorrow is warmer so it's going to have to be properly cold again. Which is forecast.
masa-alpin - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
We attempted Fiacaill Ridge in Sneachda. Though the temperature was below freezing, it was thawing by early afternoon. On the ridge the turf was frozen at midday, but was softened up by 2pm (so we backed off), both perhaps due to its exposed nature (it was windy today). Very little snow was there anywhere.
I bumped into a climber on our way back, who said had just done Savage Slit.
punj - on 01 Dec 2013
planetmarshall on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

Cheers Andy, that would have been myself and solar (Alex).

Andrew.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Given the lack of snow elsewhere there is a truely remarkable amount of the stuff in the east facing corries of Braeriach. Most of the grade 1 gullies in Coire Bhrochain and Garbh Coire Mor looked to be complete although the exits are steep and corniced in places.
JamesRoddie - on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

There was a lot in the East facing corries of Beinn a'Bhuird a few days back too.
BillyBurnside1 - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to planetmarshall:

We were the team on Deep Throat which was in good condition.
masa-alpin - on 02 Dec 2013
I have uploaded a couple of photos of crag view in Ben Nevis last Friday afternoon: http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/author.html?id=47754
Gardyloo Gully was in on that day, though it was rather an ice route than snow and a couple of grades harder than the guidebook grade. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpiniste/11160288576/
Masa
saclimber2000 - on 03 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I think i'm the guy you met walking back. Savage Slit was in great nic but everything was thawed on Sunday. No rime at all at T'Sneachda.

Photos here on a FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.202317096621574.1073741840.155412394645378&type=3&...
Cameron94 on 07 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Don't forget to keep an eye on beta stream as the season goes on. Conditions updates from guides and climbers as well as multiple mountain forecasts.

http://beta-stream.com/home
masa-alpin - on 15 Dec 2013
Snow is back in Scotland!
Here is the shot of (I think) The Fara (911m) from Dalwhinnie this morning.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpiniste/11390820273/in/photostream/
I am afraid a fair amount may have disappeared by the evening though (8 degC at the valley).

Cairngorms looked wild, according to the SAIS (my full respect to the guys who got out today!):
http://saisncairngorms.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/very-windy-with-snowfall.html
Masa
masa-alpin - on 17 Dec 2013
A team successfully made a snow-hole today in Cairngorms, reportedly!
http://talisman-activities.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/deep-snow-avalanche-pits-and-comfy-snow.html
But I heard the turf was not yet frozen today Tuesday in Mess of Pottage in Sneachda.
Masa
Jamie B - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

A fair bit of fresh snow on the west over the last couple of days but no real riming and turf unlikely to be frozen, Milder and wetter today but going cold again tomorrow. Melt-freeze anyone?
Eddie1234 - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

If anyone is wondering about conditions around Glencoe, theres a few photos on my blog, all the winter ones were taken yesterday or the day before. http://roebuckmountaineering.co.uk/blog/
Ken Applegate - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was out today, on Ledge Route on Ben Nevis. Although it was thawing today, the long-term freeze-thaw cycles should help build the ice throughout the Christmas period.

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/blog/
TheseKnivesMan - on 18 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

The MWIS outlook is for a lot, lot, lot of snow slowly building from now til after New Year
BnB - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to TheseKnivesMan:

It's snowing in Knoydart down to 200m as I type this. And it was quite windy last night in case anyone was wondering.
Ron Walker - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to BnB:

Snowing heavily down to road level at Aviemore and the Cairngorm ski area road has been closed due to drifting snow! I'm off to check my local trails for x-country skis and to try out my new vertical ice pillar!!!!!
Happy days ;-)
Cameron94 on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Snowing down to the road in Glencoe, wet snow falling with an air temp of 0c.
CurlyStevo - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to Ron Walker:

What's with the ice pillar Ron?
Ron Walker - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> What's with the ice pillar Ron?

It's a dead tree that I've cut the branches and bark off and have now set a top rope on. It's now plastered white and in proper winter condition...;-)

We've now had about 6 inches of fresh snow with the A9 temporarily closed at Slochd due to drifting! I had a wander round the forest tracks which now have quite deep snow cover though the ground underneath is unfrozen and very wet.

Hopefully it'll be freezing up high, with some of this snow falling and blowing into the right places for climbing.
franksnb - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

how much of the old snow was still present before this new stuff came in?

I'm told a strong temperature gradient leads to the formation of a weak layer.

with the strong temperature gradient the old snow has experienced lately (if it survived) and the high winds accompanying the new snow what are peoples feelings about the avalanche risk in the next few days?
Michael Gordon - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to franksnb:

check the SAIS reports
Ron Walker - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to franksnb:

Very little old snow in the climbing areas in the Cairngorms. The old snow is high on the plateau and in the Braeriach Corries on NE aspects. From the climbing perspective I'd worry more about unfrozen rock and turf. Having said that any big snow drifts or cornices will be soft and unstable! We were able to release very localised blocks of slab just by digging, never mind anything else!
Richard Bentley - on 19 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

There are some pictures of SCnL in Glencoe from today here.
http://www.mountainmotion.co.uk/blog/winter-climbing-glencoe/
euanryan on 26 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Nice sunny day in Glasgow! Anyone further up north got info on conditions? Especially Glencoe area?
smuffy on 26 Dec 2013
euanryan on 26 Dec 2013
In reply to smuffy:

Cheers for that hopeless reply...

What I meant was, has anyone been out at all and can give an idea of crag covering/gullies filling?
peebles boy - on 26 Dec 2013
In reply to euanryan:

Check the post I put up earlier, apologies for not putting it in this huge tome of winter climbing....

Basically, crags are plastered but snow is dubious, gullies are loaded but snow is dubious. deep and wet low down, sounds like it's better high up (if you can get that far!!)
Jamie B - on 26 Dec 2013
In reply to euanryan:

> has anyone been out at all and can give an idea of crag covering/gullies filling?

My educated guess is that gullies are very well filled indeed, with thousands of tonnes of avalanche-ready powder! Even buttress routes are liable to be a wade.


SteveHolmes - on 27 Dec 2013
In reply to euanryan:

Was on Shelf Route on the buachaille today. LOTS of snow about. Took ages to get up to the route with some drifts around chest hight, also made challenging route finding to stay clear of loaded slopes on the approach. Plenty of large avalanche debris around.
Bottom line is that it's well plastered in wet snow, turf isn't frozen, and routes require allot of digging to get gear. Felt pretty warm today too with occasional snow showers in the afternoon.

Will post a blog later on - verticalfever.co.uk
benny_m - on 27 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Went up to Coire an T'Sneachda yesterday, after many days of storms we were pleased to find some routes in great condition, the weather was fantastic with little wind, clear sky and sub zero temperatures. We were able to climb the Haston Line on Mess of Pottage with good neve and snow ice. Spoke to a couple of guys who had been up Fiaciall Couloir and said they had to swim up the whole thing, wouldn't recommend the SW aspects still, see the SAIS report, there were huge amounts of snow built up in the gullies which will need substantial freeze thaw conditions to consolidate them. Other teams were on Honeypot, Hidden Chimney Direct Start, Fiaciall Ridge.
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euanryan on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone been out and about yesterday or heading out today?
Valaisan on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone aware of snow conditions for ski-touring around the Ben Lawers to Glen Lyon area please?
alastairbegley - on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
Ben Nevis today, had to abort our initial objectives... http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2013/12/swimming-ledge-route/
Post edited at 17:05
masa-alpin - on 29 Dec 2013
There were at least half a dozen parties in Creagan Coire Cha-no today Sunday 29th. The temperature was just below freezing all day.
The Anvil Buttress was in good conditions with turfs frozen solid, whereas Arch Wall was to our surprise a lot more snowy. In Arch Wall turfs under deep snow were not frozen, presumably due to the insulation by snow, and cracks were devoid of snow, that is, once snow on top was cleared, damp and unfrozen cracks with no snow in them appeared - I guessed most the snow was drifted to there due to strong wind.
Masa
drmarten on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I don't know if it's worth anything regarding Meagaidh but the Monaliadth today was wet/damp until about 800m, above a bit more consolidated but still that surface crust that your feet drop down through. Western aspects had deeper unconsolidated snow. Annoyingly the whiteout lifted to give blue skies on the way down. Good to get out but what a mess the Garva Bridge area looks like with the pylon construction.
Great to get out between the blasts all the same.
smithg on 29 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

skiing on cairngorm was very icy. quite a few teams out in sneachtdha (sorry). aladdins mirror icefall looked quite bare. cornices quite substantial.

Jamie B - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to smithg:
> quite a few teams out in sneachtdha (sorry).

No wish to start an argument, but instead of saying sorry, why not just look up the correct spelling?
Post edited at 06:18
RDE - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

It was freezing above about 850m on Beinn an Dothaidh yesterday. Exposed turf was frozen and surface snow was hardening higher up but anything buried was soggy. The crags are building ice well but a good deep freeze would be nice. Probably all change again after last night's rain.
Ken Applegate - on 30 Dec 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:

I climbed Ordinary Route on Central Buttress, SCNL, Glencoe today. It's completely plastered in snow, but there was still very useful ice and frozen turf throughout. Very little in the way of gear at the moment, with all the cracks being either iced up or completely buried. http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2013/12/30/swimming-ordinary-route-central-buttress-scnl-glenco...
euanryan on 31 Dec 2013
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Were the approach slopes hard going?
Ken Applegate - on 31 Dec 2013
In reply to euanryan:

Not really, I was occasionally sinking up to mid calf, but it was by no means tough going.
Ken Applegate - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was out on Ben Nevis today, and climbed Tower Ridge. There was soft deep snow all the way up, so it was hard work, but there's a trail now so if anyone wants to follow it...

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/01/quiet-new-years-day-tower-ridge-ben-nevis/
alastairbegley - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

We attempted to climb at Coire an t-Sneachda today, but were thwarted by the wind.
http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/wild-day-coire-tsneachda/
James Edwards - on 01 Jan 2014
In reply to Foxy:
Great conditions on an teallach today with consolidated snow in the easy gullies. Bad weather now mind so may all change.
James
Ken Applegate - on 02 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Back out again, this time on 'The Gash' on Bidean Nam Bian. Great route and in very good condition, with nice chewy ice, but again, very little gear as cracks well chocked with ice.
http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/02/great-ice-gash-iv4-bidean-nam-bian-glencoe/
RDE - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Did North Trident Buttress on the Ben yesterday. Snow pack a bit damp at the bottom, but improved on way up. Reasonable conditions, but very snowy. Cornice at top of No. 4 looked horrendous so used red burn descent (great conditions for that!). Much evidence of big wet slab avalanches around (and in the Coe the day before).
aldo56 - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
Anyone been up the Cobbler / Glen Coe of late? How was it?

Looking for a first grade III this weekend, recommendations?
Post edited at 15:36
In reply to aldo56:

No idea about conditions but the South East Ridge of the South Peak of the Cobbler is an excellent III and a bit of an adventure the first time you do it because the descent looks tricky (it isn't - but you won't know that until you've done it!).
aldo56 - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

Cheers Toby, sounds perfect!
euanryan on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to aldo56:
We were up the south peak of the Cobbler on Monday. Lots of snow about, walk in was hard going, but the turf was soft and the rock was wet. Not in condition in the slightest...

Glencoe would be a better bet, Curved ridge on the Buchaille got a recent ascent I think?
Post edited at 17:41
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aldo56 - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to euanryan:

Ah, not what I wanted to hear. Any recommendations grade III in Glen Coe?(I've done Curved Ridge so not that please.)
Pids - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to euanryan:
Any idea what the conditions were like at the top of curved ridge just now?
And is the decent route best to just head back down Curved Ridge?

(Have done both ascent and descent in winter before, just looking for up to date condition report / snow loading / avalanche info )
Nath93 - on 03 Jan 2014
In reply to Pids:
Was definitely white on the drive through today but not what i'd call inspiring conditions. Can't comment on what the actual route would be like though.

For anyone else, from the small glimpse I got of the Ben from Caol today it looks to be holding a lot of snow.
Post edited at 20:10
Ken Applegate - on 04 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Back out on Ben Nevis today, and the weather was great! We climbed Green Gully, which was in reasonable condition. The ice/snow on the easier angled sections could do with some consolidation, but the ice on the steeper bits was good. Don't expect many good ice screws though!

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/04/bad-day-green-gully-ben-nevis/
JamesRoddie - on 04 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was out on Lurcher's Crag today. Some of the main gully lines are pretty well iced, and there were quite a few teams out especially on Window Gully. Most of the ice I came across was pretty cruddy, but there's quite a bit of well consolidated snow high up - once you've got through the nasty crusty stuff lower down.

I was out on one of the buttresses, well frozen turf in general.

James
jonnie3430 - on 04 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

Just read your blog. The weather has been minging for ages now! Some penance for the good years we've had before (or the months to come...?)
JamesRoddie - on 04 Jan 2014
In reply to jonnie3430:

Certainly a big contrast with last December! Like you say, we've really been spoilt with some of the last few winters.
Brian Pollock - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Out in Stob Coire nan Lochan on Saturday. North East aspects were loaded and broad gully looked like a no go making approaches questionable.

Scabbard Chimney was caked in what looked like fresh unconsolidated snow. Attempted Ordinary route which turned out to be much the the same but there was good ice to be found in places and more so higher up.

Finished up a narrow gully right of boomerang gully below the summit which was in excellent condition with consolidated snow and firm chewy ice in places.
aldo56 - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Cobbler was very, very wet and not frozen at all today. Failure!
Avinash Aujayeb - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to aldo56:

Do we know what Tuesday/wednesday looking like?
Webster - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to aldo56:

strange, from the conditions just over on Ben Vorlich I would have said the cobbler should have been great today? it was plastered in ice above about 800m with solid neve, and soft neve above about 700m. saying that I don't know how low the routes on the cobbler start? its summit surely would have been frozen?
Ken Applegate - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Climbed Morwind on Aonach Mor today. Conditions on the route were good, but I wouldn't want to try and get to many other routes on the East Face with the current snow pack.

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/05/aonach-mor-morwind-morning-wind-afternoon/
Simon Yearsley - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Think we saw you on Saturday heading into Ciste. We went up to No.5 Gully Buttress... the avalanche debris from No5 Gully was pretty awesome eh? Some of the biggest I've seen in Scotland!
Ken Applegate - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Simon Yearsley:

Looks like you had a great day too! That avalanche debris was quite awesome, not sure how wide it was at it's widest, perhaps 100m or so, with some huge chunks in amongst it.
Scott Kirkhope - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

South west ridge of the Douglas boulder today was a great choice. There was a lot of snow on the route but everything you needed was there. http://www.kirkhopemountaineering.co.uk/blog-1/
masa-alpin - on 05 Jan 2014
Mess of Pottage on Saturday was packed with climbers on Saturday - my friends counted 22 parties on or below the buttress at 9am ish...
On the other hands, other buttresses like Aladdin's and Fiacaill were pretty quiet, reportedly.
In Mess of Pottage, the turfs were frozen solid as far as I experienced, but due to thick layer of powdery snow and cracks filled with ice, the gear tended to be sparse and hard to find. In some routes, the ice on rock was formed all right in the lower part, whereas in some hardly any existed. In the upper part, there was even less ice.
Masa
cannichoutdoors - on 05 Jan 2014
Simon Yearsley - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

The fan split into three runs, covering about 500m in total. Huuuuuge
Richard Bentley - on 05 Jan 2014
In reply to Simon Yearsley:

Hi Simon, saw your van in the car park.
Yep, the debris from No5 was the biggest I have seen for over ten years.
I took some piccies
http://www.mountainmotion.co.uk/winter-courses/ben-nevis-conditions/
Rich
In reply to Richard Bentley:

How close to the CIC did they get? My one chance to stay in the CIC back in the 90s of course corresponded with horrendous weather and on the first morning I remember Alan Kimber who was in there with a client opening the door to look at a massive avalanche that had come out No. 5 in the night. He said to his client, "That's the closest I've seen it to the hut! Pack up, we're off!"

In my memory the debris were just a short stones throw away although I guess in reality it was several hundred metres!
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euanryan on 06 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone hazard a guess as to what the temperature change today and predicted tomorrow will do to the snowpack? Glencoe especially?
Richard Bentley - on 06 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

The end of the debris was probably 200 - 250m from the hut.
It would take an awful lot of snow to endanger the hut as the lower bowl in Corrie na Ciste,( just beyond the wee rock bulge you walk over after leaving the hut ), is a large collecting feature. Of course, it is possible for the hut to be reached perhaps, but the hut has been there for 84 years and to my knowledge has not been reached by the toe of an avalanche.
What is more thought provoking with this slide is the runout zone extending well down over the normal route out of the corrie, well below were I suspect a lot of folk would feel fairly safe as they descended.

Richard
mattrm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Richard Bentley:
Is anyone planning to be out this weekend? The forecasts look like it'll be cold enough and not too windy.

The avalanche risk looks lowest in Lochaber and it's showing that it'll be cold there, but it'll be pretty blowy.

The avalanche forecast in the Cairngorms is worse, but the wind is lower, however it's a bit warm on Sunday.

Obviously that could all change as there's still a few days to the weekend.

Anyone got any suggestions for crags that are likely to be in good nick?
Post edited at 10:42
mattrm - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to mattrm:

Rooms booked. Kit ready. This weekend is go. Thinking about trying Lurchers crag. Freezing level seems low enough and the avalanche risk is low in that direction.

Anyone been to Lurchers crag recently?
JamesRoddie - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to mattrm:

I was on Lurcher's on saturday. Quite a bit of ice about, but none of the lines looked very well formed and the ice was cruddy. Pretty warm and drizzly the last couple of days so I'm not sure Lurcher's will be your best bet.
mattrm - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:
> I was on Lurcher's on saturday. Quite a bit of ice about, but none of the lines looked very well formed and the ice was cruddy. Pretty warm and drizzly the last couple of days so I'm not sure Lurcher's will be your best bet.

I'd been looking at your blog actually. Was planning on doing Pinnacle Ridge as well, which should be ok? Especially as it's supposed to freeze up over the weekend.
Post edited at 13:34
JamesRoddie - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to mattrm:

It might be fine if the turf is still frozen, or if it re-freezes at the weekend as it is currently pretty warm up there.

Good luck, hope you get something done!

James
Shaunmash - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Did anyone climb any of the easier routes in the Northern Corries today?
AlH - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Shaunmash: 2 parties from Glenmore Lodge dug a trench up Hidden Chimney today. The crags are under a huge amount of snow and gear is hard to dig out. The trident Gullys are very, very full. The freezing level is coming down a little tomorrow but it may well still be a wade to get to routes and expect a lot of digging.

JamesRoddie - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to AlH:

Hidden Chimney was good today - lots of snow, varying from good nevé to useless crud. Top outs from some of the routes still collecting a bit of windslab, but a lot of the snow in the corrie has firmed up a lot, less so the higher you get.

Photos from today here.

http://glencoemountaineer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/a-dawn-solo-of-hidden-chimney.html
Murko Fuzz - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Went for a furtle up the Ben today; pretty good for walking around depending on how heavy you are. Snow accumulated on easy rocky routes is copious and crusty. Pretty unhelpful. Steeper stuff up high looks good though.
NickNixon - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I went to the Cairngorms over new year. Check out the short video I made showing conditions!

They were decent, not amazing, but pretty good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbb6nloPIQk

Enjoy folks!
Relayer - on 10 Jan 2014
Is anything worth doing in Glen Coe this weekend? I'm taking someone new out with the intention of doing a grade I gully. Thinking maybe one of the gullies at SCNL. I know it's not in great nick for proper climbing, but how do you reckon the easier gullies might be? Soft, crappy snow? Big cornices?

Rob Johnson - on 10 Jan 2014
Ledge Route was good today on the Ben, I would imagine anything ridgey would be fun this weekend. Have fun.
nikgoile - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Relayer:
Saw three large avalanches down twisting gully on scnl today. Also a few smaller ones down the central gullies. Thankfully no parties affected though it was a close call on the first one. So best to avoid gully lines there for now.
Relayer - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to nikgoile:

Yeah we went up and had a look, saw the conditions,immediately thought 'f**k that' and turned around!
JamesRoddie - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Some good conditions on Lochnagar today. A lot of nevé about though there was also a fair bit of crusty snow on Central Buttress. Lots of teams in the corrie, I saw folk on Eagle Ridge and Shadow Buttress A but I don't know where others were headed.

Photos here.
http://glencoemountaineer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-central-buttress-of-lochnagar.html
Paul Kinnaird - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

There was a few teams on the stack up the black spout when i got there. Saw you taking photos down by the col and again after you had topped out. Cornice led to a change in my plans and I needed to be back in aberdeen so ended up doing a variation on the black spout.

Up and back in aberdeen by 2pm (8 hours) passed a few people still heading up the track when I was making my way down.

Plenty avalanche debris kicking about and cornices present on most faces.
dek - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

Nice photos James! Looks like you had a good day out. Those cornices are a bit large!
JamesRoddie - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to Paul Kinnaird:

Yeah the cornices were pretty big eh, I was half thinking about Raeburn's Gully but decided against it after seeing how banked out the whole corrie was. Did anyone get a look at/climb Raeburn's?

Glad you had a good day!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Paul Kinnaird - on 11 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

There was a team on the face at the start of raeburns didn't see anyone in there. Plan was to do something quick in the southern sector or raeburns went with back up plan when I saw the cornice.

From what I could see it was banked out or snow/ice except for one of the choke stones, guide says the cornice can be avoided but thought better being on my own.
MrRiley - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to Paul Kinnaird:

Spoke to one team on the walk out who said they spent 3 hours digging through the cornice on Raeburn's!!! Also saw a team down climbing out of Polyphemus. Conditions in the steeper gullies can't have been much fun yesterday...
Maria Dixon - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin: There were six of us doing Raeburn's - snow was similar to the reports above (i.e cruddy above half height), and the cornice was definitely epic! Lots of excavation required.

Ken Applegate - on 12 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was out in the Cairngorms over the weekend and climbed The Runnel, Doctor's Choice & Pygmy Ridge, here's a quick blog:

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/12/runnel-drs-choice-pygmy-ridge-cairngorms/
planetmarshall on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

I haven't climbed Doctor's Choice before - did it on Saturday. Curious what you thought of the conditions, Ken - the top pitch in the left facing corner seemed a bit of an anti-climax? Is it normally more iced?

Cheers,
Andrew.
CurlyStevo - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:

It is reported to be harder with no ice, did it have good snow build up?
planetmarshall on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:
Good consolidated snow, a bit too good maybe? Didn't think it was worth more than about Grade II. There was a tricky traverse lower down at the cave which I assume is what merits the technical 5.

Interestingly this image depicts the climber going up left from the cave belay, whereas the guidebook describes the line as below the cave. I'm not sure what line I took at this point...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=131660
Post edited at 12:55
Andy Nisbet - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:

Conditions are very unusual (good!)at present. The top corner is normally the crux and even in the old days with big build-ups of ice, it was IV,4.
Ken Applegate - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:
Hi Andrew, I had not climbed the route before, but I felt that yesterday it was very easy for the grade. I followed the line as per the SMC Guidebook, and where the various bits of tat led, and felt that the crux was a step back to the right on pitch 2, just to the left of the climber in the posted picture.

The first two pitches were very well iced and the last pitch was just a romp up consolidated snow, and you're right no more than grade 2.

Still, it was a nice route.
Post edited at 17:49
MadProfessor - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

For what it's worth I'd have given both bottom and top pitches of Doctor's Choice (which I did on Sunday) grade 3 and the middle 4, so probably overall III/4.
Leeds Andy - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I did the ring of Steall yesterday. There was lots of snow up high meaning the that devils ridge was challenging (verging on terrifying) for about 20 meters.

Well worth a visit.

Blog post: http://www.lupineadventure.co.uk/lupine-blog.html
Guy Chater on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Leeds Andy:

Nice one Andy, Heading up there on Thursday and thinking of doing the Ring of Steall. Cheers for the update.
Guy
pawelx - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to Scottish climbing - experience is limited to one bad weather day on Ben Nevis. I've done stuff in the Alps though so I'd be looking at trying grade III and IV climbs.

If travelling on Caledonian Sleeper from London, what areas do people recommend I should consider for this coming weekend?
Post edited at 13:22
Jamie B - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

The top corner (Doctor's Choice) is normally the crux and even in the old days with big build-ups of ice, it was IV,4.

I've done it as a snowed-up rock pitch; it might have sneaked tech 5 but only just. On that ascent the middle pitch was the crux, although I think the guidebook suggests going quite a long way left.

Jamie B - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to pawelx:

> If travelling on Caledonian Sleeper from London, what areas do people recommend I should consider for this coming weekend?

Northern Corries via Aviemore via ski bus. The sleeper is too late getting into Fort William to be an option.

planetmarshall on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to Jamie B:

> On that ascent the middle pitch was the crux, although I think the guidebook suggests going quite a long way left.

I remember going quite a way, and it being pretty awkward. Though judging by the tracks multiple variations had been taken.
Jamie B - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:

My partner originally tried going straight out of the cave as per the photo - without usable ice this was desperate and a short fall resulted. We then went a little further left which was still hard! At the time I thought we were too high and too direct for a grade IV line.
Si Withington - on 14 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

A bit of an update on Coire na Ciste & the Douglas Boulder yesterday, plus Meggie on Sunday > http://lakelandascents.co.uk/2014/01/winter-climbing-ben-nevis-douglas-boulder-meggie/
masa-alpin - on 15 Jan 2014
Crag shots of the crags in Loch Avon Basin - Carn Etchachan, Shelterstone, Garbh Uisge, Stag Rocks - taken yesterday (2014-01-14) are uploaded to my photo page: http://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/author.html?id=47754
Also, you can see Stacan Dubha in this shot in my Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alpiniste/11954694383/in/set-72157639772774066

The snow was overall hard with good neve. Turfs under snow were, however, unfrozen in places. Exposed turfs were frozen solid. Thanks to the hard snow, the walk-in from Cairngorm ski resort was quite easy.
Masa
ebdon - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone got any idea how much todays thaw is affecting the norries? MWIS seems to suggest lots of melting
CurlyStevo - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to ebdon:

Freezing level is currently something like 1100 metres on cairngorm, Aonach Mor Weather station is higher and the freezing level will be above the summit of the Ben.

http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/weather/maps/city?3&TIME=std&LANG=en&WMO=03065&ART=te...

Its hard to guess at what level its raining / snowing just now, possibly snowing from around 900 -> 1000 metres in the norries but hard to say and I think its set to get a bit warmer yet.
Andy Nisbet - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to ebdon:

> Anyone got any idea how much todays thaw is affecting the norries? MWIS seems to suggest lots of melting

For easier routes, I think it will make it even better!
euanryan on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Had a fail of a trip to t-Sneachda today, could hardly stay upright in the wind. Bailed to Newtyle...

Would be interested to hear if anyone got anything done!
SteveHolmes - on 15 Jan 2014
In reply to ebdon:

Creagan Coire Cha-no is on its way out at the minute, some easier routes still in winter condition. I am sure it will return swiftly with a change in wind direction though......

http://verticalfever.co.uk/2014/01/14/creagan-coire-cha-no/
Wry Gob - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Has anyone been into the Shelter Stone recently and perhaps have some pics?

Cheers, Guy
Stevos - on 16 Jan 2014
Big Lee - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Stevos:

This entry is two days old. The snow pack has improved since then.
Red Rover - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

SAIS suggests the snowpack is pretty stable at the moment http://sais.gov.uk
and the Met Office suggests that saterday will be rough with high wind and some snow in the western highlands but Sunday looking better http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/loutdoor/mountainsafety/westhighland/westhighland_latest_pressure.html

If saterdays forecast is correct then would Sunday be unsafe due to fresh snow? Or will it all have melted by then?
Big Lee - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to Red Rover:

I wouldn't worry about it too much judging by the MWIS forcast. There's virtually zero avalanche risk currently so it would take a fair amount of fresh snow on Saturday to sufficiently heighten the risk. The winds are S to SE to be aware of potential windslab on N to NW aspects if there is a lot of fresh snow.
PAJames - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to ebdon:

The thaw doesn't seem to have affected the corries much, some of the soft slab that was forming has been saturated. There was some debris at the bottom of Mess of Pottage today. The buttresses still holding lots of cruddy snow. We had hoped it would have made the snow slightly firmer. http://pjmountains.blogspot.co.uk/
CurlyStevo - on 16 Jan 2014
In reply to PAJames:
I was checking the weather stations and it was quite a bit warmer for quite a bit longer over the west side (Aonach Mor) and I guess quite a bit wetter too! Things could be better over there.

This is from the sais lochaber page
"extensive areas of frozen snow making walking straight forward"
"The wet snowpack has now refrozen and is stable at all levels. Some localised areas of fresh snow are present at higher elevations but accumulations are not significant"
Post edited at 18:55
Neil Adams - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Wry Gob:

See Adam Russell's photo on FB (Greg is tagged). Looks good to me.
JamesRoddie - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Pretty good conditions in upper Coire na Caime on Liathach today. I did Central Trinity Gully which was pretty firm with two ice steps.

Routes choices in the lower corries looked limited to mainly the big grade I gullies. Still a fair bit of ice visible on Poacher's Fall etc but it was pretty mild up there today until almost summit level.

The ridge traverse was good as well, conditions variable though - full cover of firm snow on a lot of the ridge but also areas of bare grass and rock.

James.
Misha - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
Very windy today in the Northern Corries, even in the car park. We made it to Sneachda but it was unpleasant for climbing and we assumed it would be worse on the plateau, so we bailed. Quite a few other teams did as well. Now scaling the North Face of Aviemore High Street. Apart from the wind and light icy snow being blown about, the walk in was easy, with good neve underfloot and occasional patches of ice. We didn't see much of the crag but looked fairly buried still. Take two tomorrow...
Tim Chappell - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Misha:

So, really shit today is basically what you're saying?

It's frustrating, I had a Cunning Plan for tomorrow, but it really does look like a waste of my petrol and exit-visa :-(
philhilo - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Tim chapel
Yes - grim.50-60mph, low vis, never saw Crag. Potentially climbable but not fun and going to be dangerous if it deteriorated at all and forecast was for winds to increase. Lots of teams bailing.
Ron Walker - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

> Conditions are very unusual (good!)at present. The top corner is normally the crux and even in the old days with big build-ups of ice, it was IV,4.


Was it not III/IV in the older guides?
DafMorris - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to philhilo:

Did Yukon Jack this morning, in very easy condition at the moment, felt more like a grade II romp with plenty of helpful snow. Pretty windy on the walk in but fairly sheltered on the climb!. Other teams on Haston line etc.
Andy Nisbet - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Ron Walker:

> Was it not III/IV in the older guides?

It's IV,4 in the Cairngorms guide but III,4 or III,5 (lean) in Scottish Winter Climbs. Allen Fyffe and I don't always agree but conditions make the grade vary more than what the authors choose, especially on Mess of Pottage.
Dave Bingham - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone know the climbing conditions in the Glencoe or Ben Nevis areas? Any ice forming on any grade 3 or 4 routes for example?
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James91 - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Bingham:

Wondering that same thing!
jonnie3430 - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Bingham:
Minus Face yesterday: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153739459795445&l=2ba9ebe549 More snow than ice, though there is ice there. Snow was fairly solid neve, sometimes good enough for an axe but mostly not. There were tracks up NE Buttress, a couple of teams on Ledge Route and Tower Ridge, we went up Minus 3 Gully.
Post edited at 16:37
Webster - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to philhilo:

I guess you guys turning round in 50-60mph winds and no vis must be locals? to us southerners that is a typical Scottish winter day!
markk - on 18 Jan 2014
Excellent conditions on easy snow routes in Torridon today with great neve and lovely dry rock on Lawson Ling and Glovers Route (II), followed by more great neve all the way up Fuselage Gully (bit thin over the plane wreckage giving an interesting but very short crux). Main ridge was in fantastic condition - saw a few crampon prints, but no other people.

Pretty sheltered from the wind in the coire with good views to Skye and the Western Isles. Cloud dropped mid-afternoon and rain was setting in as we got back to the road.

Robert Durran - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

> It's IV,4 in the Cairngorms guide but III,4 or III,5 (lean) in Scottish Winter Climbs.

I once started up The Lamp Direct (given V,6) and finished up the top corner of Doctor's choice in mixed conditions. This felt at least as hard if not harder.
Joak - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Bingham:
Saw no water ice in Glencoe today, nice firm snow ice on the ridges of SCNL and Bidean with rime on the rocks but all the burns running water. Vis was only a couple of yards right enough:-)
Post edited at 19:47
Misha - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Webster:
No, Birmingham! Just being soft/sensible. Wasn't pleasant. Yeah ok it's Scottish winter...

Max Hunter - on 18 Jan 2014
I was out on the Ben yesterday and got these views -

http://www.huntermountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/out-for-a-look-at-the-north-face/

And again today, but the views were pretty poor.
baileyswalk - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone been up the Ben today? Heading there for a couple of days and wondering what crags were looking best. Any without much digging for gear? How about some ice?
Andy Nisbet - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

> It's IV,4 in the Cairngorms guide but III,4 or III,5 (lean) in Scottish Winter Climbs. Allen Fyffe and I don't always agree but conditions make the grade vary more than what the authors choose, especially on Mess of Pottage.

Sorry I was getting mixed up with Haston Line. Yes Doctor's Choice was III/IV. But that pretty much converts to IV,4. Which it's given in Scottish Winter Climbs. But it's given IV,5 in Cairngorms.
AlH - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Bingham:
and baileys walk….

Alan Kimber tweeted that conditions were mixed in Green Gully today and hard work on Castle Ridge. It was certainly tough going on Tower Ridge: http://alanhalewood.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/tough-times-on-tower-ridge.html (or maybe I'm getting soft).
The lower snow has ben through freeze cycles but higher up the rime on the rocks was airy soft and useful. Interesting that people seem to be saying better snow in Glencoe too which also backs up the sea that the high stuff still needs a thaw freeze to settle.
Post edited at 21:16
Max Hunter - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to baileyswalk:

A couple of views of the Ben Today - Minus face looks plastered in snow.

http://www.huntermountaineering.co.uk/2014/01/refreshing-wml-skills-on-the-ben/

Plenty of ice about - but it might be under a lot of snow!
Dave Kerr - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Easy gullies on Liathach in good nick. Poachers should be there after a few days freeze.
ian stewart - on 19 Jan 2014
A west coast day in the northern corries today, wet to the pants by lunchtime
http://stewartmountainskills.blogspot.co.uk/
James Edwards - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

No snow at all in the hills north off Ullapool. Autumn walking really.
Skiers were out in the corie na fethie reabhaich on Ben Wyvis yesterday. Snow level is very high 700+m
James
JamesRoddie - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

Do you happen to know how the gullies on An Teallach are looking? Lean as well?
James Edwards - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

The very easy gullies were probably still there from what I saw on the way to Ullapool from the road. The snow on the crag and the crag apron were very much reduced.
James
jonnie3430 - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

North East Coire of Beinn An Dothaidh had snow on ledges but not on faces today. There was a team on Taxus and it looked like Haar and Cirrus had complete snow, but I have no idea what the ice underneath was like. Turf at the same altitude on the other side of the coire was unfrozen.
masa-alpin - on 19 Jan 2014
Here is the shot of Creag Meagaidh taken today (2014-01-19). https://twitter.com/masasakano/statuses/425000522446151680
In short, the ice in any route looked thin from the lochan.
At the lochan, the temperature must be above freezing, though I did not measure, this afternoon, and it was raining.
Masa
RDE - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Flake Route (Bidean) was amazing yesterday - almost completely climbed on ice. The final 'tech 6' pitch (Raeburn's Chimney) turned out to be grade IV ice, with ice plastering all surfaces above 1000m.
Michael Gordon - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to RDE:

Good route. When I did it, Raeburn's Chimney didn't seem tech 6 under normal conditions either.
euanryan on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Out on Beinn an Dothaidh today, turf well frozen on about the second pitch of our route (some bad route reading had us going up the buttress bewteen Haath and West Buttress, knarly!) but first pitch was slightly softer. Solid, enjoyable neve most of the way up, and extremely well bonded at the top, flash backs to the alps...

Having said all that, the walk-in was wetter than, well, a really wet thing. Not pleasant!
euanryan on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to euanryan:

Meant to add, there was evidence of some fairly large avalanches down the main buttress gullys, assuming from collapsed cornices as they were pretty big but looked like they'd broken at somepoint.
Scomuir on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to euanryan:

Any photos?
euanryan on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Scomuir:

Of the debris? No, not really. A couple of our snaps show stuff visible in the background but that's all!
pass and peak - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Conditions today for "Bidean Nam Bian" Glencoe.
Basicaly minging absolutaly minging, if I jumped in the loch I wouldn't be any wetter! Yesterdays tea time snow turned to rain overnight and hammered it down all night. At 08;30 this morning it was raining sea to summit and didn't clear till around 10:00 Cleared just long enough to entice me for a ridge walk to check out conditions, then around 12:30 started raining/sleeting again and continued all day. So had a walk up Ant-t-Sron and along the ridge past Stob Coire nam Bieth and onto Bidean summit. Snow line proper starts at around 650m but is wet and saturated right through. above 750, last nights snow is lying on top of the old snow (which is extensive) but the new stuff is soggy and varies in depth from around 4cm to maybe 30cm on N to West slops depends on aspect (wasn't going to check to far), and is very wet up to around 950m where it firms up slightly and its started to add to the cornices around the which have sagged, some collapsed during the night, but are building again. Snow was falling as opposed to rain/sleet at about 1000m, with the freezing level at 15:00 this afternoon at around 1100m, wind was westerly but veered WNW on the return. To Sum up today was shite with wet snow underfoot and white out on top. On the up side the pack with be well consolidated if it gets a few days freeze. Tomorrows temp forecast looks good, but with more precipitation and wind. For the moment the further east the better I recon!
marzi - on 23 Jan 2014
In the coire an t'sneachda yesterday. And we climbed the mirror direct, short pitch, deep wet snow, lots of spin drift, wet ice, windy, some buffeting, got 3 screws in so climbable just lots of spin drift cascading on us for entire pitch, we shouldn't have been there, but got it done.
Scomuir on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to euanryan:

Sorry, should have been more specific. I meant of the cliff, but it doesn't matter now. The forecast isn't too appealing for this weekend
JohnnyW - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to Scomuir:

> The forecast isn't too appealing for this weekend

Again.
It's getting me a wee bit doon :(
Father Noel Furlong on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to pass and peak:

> Conditions today for "Bidean Nam Bian" Glencoe.

> Basicaly minging absolutaly minging, if I jumped in the loch I wouldn't be any wetter!

I'm always pissed off how little i get out these days but your post reminded me that sometimes i'm glad to be stuck at home watching the telly.
Avinash Aujayeb - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to JohnnyW:

dont tell me that!

i have a train for aviemore on friday and 2 days of guiding booked!

it does get me down too
Joak - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

> I'm always pissed off how little i get out these days but your post reminded me that sometimes i'm glad to be stuck at home watching the telly.

On the contrary, maybe not plan A or plan B but even a frustrating plan C day out on a storm bound hill still beats the hell out of festering in da hoose watching the box. Whaurs yer spirit of adventure? :)
mattrm - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to aujayeb:

> dont tell me that!

> i have a train for aviemore on friday and 2 days of guiding booked!

> it does get me down too

Don't stress too much. The freezing level is low on Saturday / Sunday and while there will be a bit of a breeze ;) and a fair bit of snow around, I'm sure the guide will be able to find somewhere safe to take you.
jonnie3430 - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to aujayeb:

It's just the game we play. I'm in Glasgow and keen to climb loads, but the weather has been mainly minging since early December. If it was easy I suppose it wouldn't have the challenge...
bombshell - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to jonnie3430:

I prefer the challenge of the climb not the challenge of actually being finding conditions to climb it in the first place.
Stuart Honick - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Went out up castle ridge yesterday, conditions were quite good, neve all the way pretty much. However did see 3 quite big avalanches come down to the right of us from South Castle Gully and off the north east side around Carn Dearg Buttress. Looking up from The North car park this morning and the snow level has dropped to about 600m. Was going to attempt Tower Ridge tomorrow but after having a look at the avalanche reports may re-think our plan….
Murko Fuzz - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to aujayeb:

There's hoofing great amounts of snow about but there's still stuff to get at safely.
Avinash Aujayeb - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to Murko Fuzz:

Not going to go anywhere now. Oh well.
SteveHolmes - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
Was in t'sneachda today, climbed The Genie. More about conditions in the coire here........

http://verticalfever.co.uk/
Post edited at 20:38
Ken Applegate - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was up in the NW Highlands over the past 5 days. Here's a report:

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/blog/
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jshields - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Thanks for that Ken, I know the guys you were with. Glad they all had a good time.
Jon
Father Noel Furlong on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Joak:

> Whaurs yer spirit of adventure? :)

It died the day i signed for the fecking big mortgage to pay for the fecking hoose for the wife and fecking kids.....roll on X Factor! ;-(
The Ghost Rider - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Glen Coe yesterday - climbed Crowberry Gully on Buchaelle Etive Mor. Snow lower down was rather soggy, but once in the gully itself was fairly well consolidated neve. Very little ice and what was there was brittle.

Rain was falling on the summit, and as we left the pub the air temperature was 8 degrees.
Jordangask - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

A few pictures from the first day of the Glenmore Lodge winter skills weekend in the Cairngorms. http://cragandsnow.blog.com/2014/01/25/winter-skills-course-day-1/
Confused Chimp on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I wa thinking about booking a Scottish mountaineering course in mid to late feb. Just wondering if the conditions are good enough to make it worthwhile?
Cheers
CC
Jamie B - on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to Confused Chimp:

> I was thinking about booking a Scottish mountaineering course in mid to late feb. Just wondering if the conditions are good enough to make it worthwhile?

There is simply no way of knowing what it will be like by that time. But mountaineering is less conitions-dependent than climbing, so the course will run.
Andy Nisbet - on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to Confused Chimp:

Conditions are potentially great. Just need the weather to improve.
Smith42 on 26 Jan 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

> Conditions are potentially great. Just need the weather to improve.

Totally agree, the big crags seem to have huge build up and still need few more freeze thaw cycles and then we will have awesome conditions! Storms are fairly normal in Jan, just have to know where and when to go, "work with what the mountains give you" Ps posting from safety of my bed at home in Newcastle listening to rain.
Misha - on 27 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

A few tit bits from the BMC international winter meet based at Glenmore Lodge this week:

We went up Fiacaill Ridge today with a view to abbing in to a route but found that the snow slopes on the side of the crag were icy neve so just dropped down a snow slope and traversed round below the crag. Soloed the first pitch of something (good neve / snow ice, go anywhere type terrain) and ended up below Invernookie so did that. Good neve and rock all iced up but not much gear! A few other teams abbed in to do routes in that area. Weather a bit gnarly but bearable.

The snow slope below the crag looked like wind scoured icy neve so probably ok to walk up from the bottom.

People elsewhere in Sneachda today, not sure what routes but walking in from the bottom. So not necessarily a deathtrap as the avalanche forecast suggested but obviously need to make that call on the day and probably big differences between different aspects. Below Fiacaill Buttress is NE facing and the avalanche forecast did say that aspect would be least bad so that makes sense.

Other people were at Cha No today, lots of routes done.

A few teams went to SCNL and did various routes there, approaches were fine apparently.
Brian Pollock - on 28 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Heading up to the CIC hut over the weekend and wondering if anyone can recommend anything at around V6 that is likely to be in?

Ice or mixed is fine.

If none of the classic ice routes are in condition I was considering Tower Face of the Comb or Gargoyle Wall for a mixed alternative. Any advice on conditions for either would be appreciated.
Misha - on 28 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
Lots of snow on the Ben but good climbing to be had 'in the right places'. Route II Direct not one of those places - dodgy cruddy snow ice, got spat off at the start and gave up on it.

All ice routes snowed under so will be great in March! CIC hut cascade forming but not climbable. The Shroud looked like it had touched but very thin, again could be good later.

JamesRoddie - on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to masa-alpin: I did Deep South Gully on Beinn Alligin today. Warmer than forecast so the snow was pretty damp, and didn't reach the freezing level until the ridge crest. Great route though and full of character!
LakesWinter on 29 Jan 2014
In reply to JamesRoddie:

Great route isn't it!
Robertgiddy - on 30 Jan 2014
Thinking about a trip to Beinn Bhan this weekend, thinking that may avoid some wind and snow. Was wondering if anyone knows what the routes are looking like, particularly thinking of March Hares Gully.

drunken monkey - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Robertgiddy:

Has it been cold enough? I really doubt it mate
Misha - on 30 Jan 2014
In reply to Robertgiddy:
Was done earlier this week in dodgy mixed nick with very little gear. Didn't sound great.

jonnie3430 - on 31 Jan 2014
In reply to Robertgiddy:

Done on the BMC internaional meet, so??
Andrew Holden - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone out on the ben today who knows what conditions are like please?
Robertgiddy - on 01 Feb 2014
Went out to Beinn Dearg today in surprisingly good weather. Climbed Emerald Gully but it wasn't in great nick, but I'd guess that the other gullies on the face should be climbable as Emerald usually comes into condition later than the rest.
In reply to Oldinio:

My mate did Cutlass on the Douglas Boulder. His photos make it look VERY wild weather.
AlH - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to Oldinio:

http://www.huntermountaineering.co.uk/blog/

Wild in Lochaber again and more to come. Further N and W is less buried.
euanw - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was out in Arrochar today climbing Chockstone Gully and Great Gully. Photos and conditions report on the climbnow.co.uk blog.
HeMa on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to TobyA:
Yeah, the winds were pretty strong in the morning, so we rapped off after the 3rd pitch (all hard climbing) from an insitu belay/rap-anchor/tat. Oddly enough the winds did seem to doie around midday, contradicting the forecast...

Oh well, it was still a great day and a great climb in good company...

And best of all, no japanese-us-english party ahead of us, so no 3 h wait on the belay before the crux... :grin:
Post edited at 21:39
Jordangask - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

A few photos from up in the Cairngorms today... The snow gate was closed so a long and windy walk up the ski road! http://cragandsnow.blog.com/2014/02/01/a-windy-day-in-the-cairngorms/
paulh.0776 - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
No winter conditions to speak of south of the border so made the journey north for a couple of days with Richard from Mountain Motion. Wed (Douglas Boulder) and Thurs (Stob Coire nan Lochan)........had a great time :)

a few images of the conditions especially South, Central and north Buttresses on SCnL

http://paulhorsmanphotographer.blogspot.co.uk
chris smith - on 02 Feb 2014
Very unstable snow on the Ben today. Big avalanche has came down castle gully with debris down to the stream. Backed off ledge route as 2 small avalanches came down number 5 gully. Considerably warmer than yesterday but with strong winds.
Dave Kerr - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Did 'The Cul' on Cul Mor yesterday. Just frozen enough but little ice so the LH variation was taken. I'd still recommend it with that as it only misses out about 10 feet of climbing.

We won on the weather front as although it was very windy on the approach the route was sheltered and winds died through the day.

Kipped in the van with the intention of climbing on Liathach today but it was so wild we never bothered. Looked like the rain / snow limit was very close to the summits and 5 degrees in the carpark.
Lamb - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

We are planning on heading up to Beinn Eighe tonight, do you think today will have stripped the Far East Wall or was it not that bad?
Dave Kerr - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Lamb:

Really hard to say. It was definitely snowing on the tops but only just. It doesn't take much to strip that crag but then it doesn't take much to bring it into nick either. What were you thinking about trying?
Lamb - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Was considering Kami-Kaze, driving from Aberdeen tonight, so fair trip, what would you say? Worth the gamble?

Cheers
Craig
Dave Kerr - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Lamb:

I've just looked at the forecast and it would be the winds that worried me rather than the snow tomorrow! Although I suppose Kami-Kaze is sheltered getting to it could be a trauma.
Lamb - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Aye, the winds are getting quite tiring now. Freezing level is at 800m tomorrow and if it has thawed today I'm feeling it's a bit risky.
Dave Kerr - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Lamb:

I don't want to overly influence you but I wouldn't be driving from Aberdeen on that forecast.

The winds are starting to get on my wick too.
Lamb - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Baws. Can't argue if you've been there the day.

You get something done yourself yesterday?

Cheers for the info.
Post edited at 16:41
Dave Kerr - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Lamb:

Just to clarify we never even went up the hill today, so my beta is based on 'view from car'.

Andrew Holden - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to chris smith:

Small?? They were big enough for me to need a new pair of underpants.
Misha - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:
Beinn Eighe was great on Friday, not too much snow but I'm told it was as white as that crag ever gets. Good weather as well, despite the forecast.

Poacher's was done on Friday, apparently in good nick.

peebles boy - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Up in Glencoe today, snow level about 400m (fresh wet), becoming complete cover/old snow and drier at about the 600m mark, snow seems to have had a good thaw over last couple days though (very wet and soft even 2 or 3 feet into the snow pack), but only got up to 700m so can't comment about high up. Looks to have been a very big and very run out avalanche down the middle of Coire na Tulaich on BEM, and another one has came in from the east side of the coire.
Decent day with light winds from the south, few snow showers moving through before becoming dry and bright and sunny in afternoon. Freezing level seemed to drop a bit as day went on, slush at the top of Devils Staircase was a lot firmer on the way back down.

Some long distance photos here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152155343000865.1073741857.738660864&type=1&l=d0...

Cheers,
Gordon
Steve Perry - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

We took a walk up Beinn Dearg yesterday which was clear but blowing a gale. The gullys of Gleann Sguaib looked really thin low down, almost stripped even but better in their top halves. We opted for the ridge Tower of Babel which was leaner than we hoped but very climbable with iced up cracks and bomber turf. The wind blowing felt warm though and by the top there was water running down the route in places. looking across the gully, West Buttress looked to have more snow.
Anyone out from An Teallach to Ben Hope today would have had incredible weather, it was glorious.
Post edited at 19:05
LibS - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Anyone got any idea how the Cobbler is looking at the moment?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Steve Perry - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to LibS:
> Anyone got any idea how the Cobbler is looking at the moment?

see scottishwinter.com there's a fresh picture of a route on the Cobbler.

pass and peak - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Was up Lurchers Crag yesterday, not to bad nick but lots of windslab on descent routes, more reading/pics here http://markswalks.wordpress.com/
ccmm on 05 Feb 2014 - 212.219.255.65 whois?
In reply to pass and peak:

Good effort bivvying the other night. Respect.
ian stewart - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I was up in Torridon today, climbed George III,4. In great condition, but pretty hard to protect. Poachers is looking good!
Pics here:

https://www.facebook.com/stewartmountainskills
http://stewartmountainskills.blogspot.co.uk/
DannyC on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

George on Liathach in fantastic condition yesterday. Came back east along the ridge from the top and it was also in quick, hard condition for anyone planning on doing it.
James Edwards - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to DannyC:

Can Danny and Ian above comment on the Rockfall on the cave pitch. Is it still possible to thread the cave? How had the route changed do you know?
Many thanks
James
Ken Applegate - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to James Edwards:
There is now a large boulder in the lower section of the route, just before the gully narrows beneath the cave. It has probably added a couple of moves of tech 4 to surmount it, and certainly doesn't detract from the route, if anything adds a bit more interest.
Post edited at 21:26
Andy Nisbet - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Ken Applegate:

It was all but banked out last week, just a move to pass it. The banking behind it makes the lead up to the chockstone easier. But it might be interesting early season (unless there's a through route)
ian stewart - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Andy Nisbet:
You could have squeezed through today, but only just and with some digging, but nice easy snow/ice up the outside, so why would you?!

New lower chockstone step is on 3rd pitch is similar to crux on Patey's route, tricky to protect at the moment too.
Post edited at 22:09
Jamie B - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Steve Perry:

> see scottishwinter.com there's a fresh picture of a route on the Cobbler.

Pretty ethereal nick that, not sure if it can be used for advance forecasting.
Steve Perry - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to Jamie B:

Your right there Jamie but its very nice to look at.
anthonyh - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Has anybody been near gully number3/4 on Ben Nevis or the cmd of late if so what are the conditions like

Thanks
Anthony
stevieweesaxs107 - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to anthonyh:

On Cobbler early 2day,Tons of fresh wet snow very hard going
Managed A plastered chockstone gully and a pretty loaded
Great Gully, good value first moves on to the gully rest is a swim
Jamie B - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to anthonyh:

Are you aware of avalanche forecasting and the effect of heavy snow? Nobody in their right mind would contemplate No.3 or No.4 Gullies in current conditions.
Andy Nisbet - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to ian stewart:

Squeezing through is the highlight of the route. The exit is brilliant. I would always do it!
ian stewart - on 06 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Photos of the Northern Corries today here:
http://stewartmountainskills.blogspot.co.uk/
baileyswalk - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Does anyone know if Lochnagar (or other south cairngorm venues) is in condition or burried like its northern counterparts?
Big Lee - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Is the Hurting banked out at Grade II yet?
James Edwards - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Big Lee:

There is an 8a (or there abouts) bolted sport route in the chamonix valley that has been skied, so here's hoping!
It looks like touring above a certain altitude in the Cairngorms is going to be a long season.
Every cloud has a silver linning.
James
HeMa on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

Aladins Cooler looked like it would be a really good run last week... Just huck the cornice and blast all the way down to the avy -debry before the sluff and possibly crashing cornice catch ya.
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Robert Durran - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to HeMa:
> (In reply to James Edwards)
>
> Aladins Cooler looked like it would be a really good run last week... Just huck the cornice and blast all the way down to the avy -debry before the sluff and possibly crashing cornice catch ya.

Translation?

HeMa on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Translation?

You should be able to pick it up...
peter.herd - on 07 Feb 2014
A mate just called me from top of Sgurr Mor after climbing Ressurection in good conditions. Shame the clouds in over next couple days - something i'd like to keep for a nice day i think. NW is best!
BelleVedere on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Translation?

Go like frack...
Michael Gordon - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to baileyswalk:

Buried
baileyswalk - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

How about Glen Clova?
JCurrie - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to baileyswalk:

Nowhere near cold enough recently for clova to be in, imho.
davidrj1 - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Me and my mate are keen to get out this weekend but yet again I notice the stormy weather...any suggestions? I note the mountain weather forecast isn't great but I am getting sick of Edinburgh (lovely as it is) so would like to escape for at least a day. We'd be looking at grade 2-3. I'm conscious many routes of this grade will be avalanche prone given the snow but any suggestions welcome :)
baileyswalk - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to JCurrie:

Running low on ideas now - Lurchers? Or should I just admit defeat and drink beer and watch sports this weekend.
PAJames - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to baileyswalk:

Lurcher's has ice. Plenty of people there today as well. http://pjmountains.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/07-02-14-lurchers-crag-cairngorms.html
baileyswalk - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to PAJames:

Nice one, that looks grand. What was the snow pack like? I see the avalanche warning isnt looking so good for that aspect.
PAJames - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to baileyswalk:

Hello. The snow today was crusty and sometimes firm and has started to transform, there was some dry wind slab higher up on a low angle as we topped out, but you could stick to the ridge then. I suspect the SAIS are expecting more new snow overnight and a SE wind which would be wind blown to that aspect.
baileyswalk - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to PAJames:

Aye, I was just thinking that myself. Keen to get out and only got so many climbing credits so might just save them for when it settles, getting sick of saying that!
Andy Nisbet - on 07 Feb 2014
In reply to PAJames:

I did Central Gully on Lurchers with my clients today. Good conditions and plenty of ice. Doesn't mean it's going to be safe tomorrow though.
masa-alpin - on 07 Feb 2014
I ventured to Coire an t-Sneachda today.
Lots of cornices were everywhere. Aladdin's Mirror Direct was pretty much buried in snow: see my photo at https://twitter.com/masasakano/status/431926294234681344/photo/1
I soloed the right-hand gully (in the photo) with just one axe easily.
Pygmy Ridge was not in bad condition (though I don't know how its standard conditions are like), though the gear was hard to get and so it was fairly bold.
Masa
Jamie B - on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Stob Ban was very snowy yesterday, wouldn't have wanted to be much higher!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.217573215113105.1073741840.189398497930577&type=1
planetmarshall on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Was on Beinn Eighe on Friday along with a number of other teams. It dawned unpromisingly but turned out to be a quite spectacular day.

We did West Buttress - don't know how this gets tech 4, it's harder than anything I've done at IV,5 in the Northern Corries.

The snow is soggy and unfrozen and not much good until you get to the higher tiers. The West Chimney approach was hard work, with an unprotected steep step not mentioned in the guide - maybe this is normally banked out? A good hard freeze would do wonders.
Andy Nisbet - on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to planetmarshall:

I'd be happy enough to grade it IV,5.
Pretty similar to East Buttress which gets IV,5.
CMcBain - on 08 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Done Poacher's Fall on Liathach today and it was in good nick, weather was surprisingly good until about 1pm when it clagged in. A team on Salmon Leap and I think a few people headed towards George area aswell?

Also, I dropped my belay mitt at the 3rd belay of poacher's and think it landed back in the chimney pitch. If the three guys from Aberdeen behind us happened to find it, I would be grateful to organize it's return! (will pay postage!)
SWalls - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to CMcBain:

I was the guy that caught you up at the belay just before you dropped your mit. My friends didn't catch it so I guess it went all the way. Saw at least one other party on the route when we were collecting the bags so someone else might have managed to find it. Great day out on an awesome route though.

Steve
ads.ukclimbing.com
Dave Richards - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Has anyone been on the Aonach Eagach ridge or the Cobbler recently and has any view on the conditions there? Was considering a trip at the weekend.
CMcBain - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to SWalls:

Hi Steve, no worries about the mitten, it was worth a shot! It was a great day to be out, even if the final snowslope and top out was a bit minging.

Cal
punj - on 10 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

done central buttress on Lochnagar yesterday, conditions as expected, very little rock showing, very little good snow or ice and there are large cornices all around the coire (i had to break through one) as well as debris scattered throughout the corrie. only other climbers i was aware of were doing a route on Shadow Buttress.

as with most places, loads of snow. needs a good thaw and freeze and we're all laughing!
alexm198 - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to punj:

Anyone know if Udlaidh is likely to be in/come in before the weekend? I've not been before so I don't know how easily it comes into condition.
ian stewart - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

Hi James, Clients just sent through this photo from George last week. This is me approaching what I think is the new step:

http://tinyurl.com/qezsu7h

Cheers
Heike - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to alexm198:

Wouldn't have thought so. Not really cold enough. I think there might just be loads of snow...
James Edwards - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to ian stewart:

Thanks - yes it looks new. Hopefully it's well keyed in.
James
Andy Nisbet - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

That is the new step for definite.
ian stewart - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

Difficult to tell how solid it is with so much snow around it... It is certainly big!
Pids - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to anyone:

I see that there was a lot of snow, even down to sea level, in Fort William area last night - anyone ventured out on Ben Nevis the last few days?

Are the CIC icefalls formed - must be about the only safe option for climbing there at present, or anything else likely to be safe / good?
d508934 - on 12 Feb 2014
In reply to Pids:

interested in this also as have trip booked ages ago to Fort William. ledge route and some shorter ridges on douglas boulder seem to be the only things getting traffic.

anyone been to aonach moor's west face? had a thought that as it's a different aspect might be something on in current high avalanche conditions - stand to be corrected though.

eagerly awaiting Mike Pescod's next conditions update!
Webster - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin: Lurchers is a good bet, climbed there yesterday. the walk in from the suger bowl car park is really easy and safe, skirted the chalamain gap on its north side to avoid swimming in powder through it. the rest of the walk was on rock solid neve, took less than 2 hours car to crag. did central gully which had great neve and some good blue ice but the main pitches are fairly banked out and therefore easy at the grade. North gully looked a similar storey. left and right ice falls are just grade 1 snow slopes atm. K9 looked solid and blue but myabe a little skinny which could make it hard at the grade? no cornices to worry about at the top of the crag.

seemed to be lots of other parties also at the crag though dont know what lese was climbed

Dave 88 - on 14 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Any chance of anything getting done at Glen Clova this weekend?
Ken Applegate - on 14 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I've been out and about in the NW Highlands and Glencoe over the past 6 days and have climbed on Fuar Tholl, Beinn Eighe, Liathach, Meall Gorm and Gearr Aoanch:

http://www.applemountaineering.co.uk/2014/02/14/6-days-6-routes-12-stars-nw-highlands-glencoe/
ian stewart - on 15 Feb 2014
Climbed West Buttress on Beinn Eighe, Torridon yesterday. Slow walk in with lots of deep soft snow, but well worth it!

http://stewartmountainskills.blogspot.co.uk/
French Erick - on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to Jonathan Yates:

Which begs a cheeky answer: independent thinking?
The Ghost Rider - on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Climbed north west gully on Stob Coire Nam Beith (Glen Coe) yesterday. Snow conditions were great, good neve from 700m upwards and fantastic neve on the upper slopes leading to the summit!
JamesRoddie - on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I did Post Box Gully on Sgorr Ruadh today. Very banked out, in fact the cave was blocked with snow entirely so I bypassed it to the left. Snow in the gully was mainly a bit moist with a hard crust, and some good neve on the steeper bits. Also some large (but mainly avoidable) areas of slab as well, which I should think will grown later in the day as the wind picked up.

A lot of snow to pretty low levels, very hard going on the approaches.
James.
alastairbegley - on 16 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Headed up to Poacher's Fall on Liathach today, fantastic route!
http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2014/02/poachers-fall/
Gazlynn - on 17 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Was up the Cobbler yesterday and did Soul groove on North Peak(we think)
Loads of snow but very sugary and not in the best nick. The turf not quite frozen but getting there.

cheers

Gaz




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alastairbegley - on 17 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

I had another day on Liathach today in more scottish weather, good fun day out! http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2014/02/climbing-george-liathach/
ian stewart - on 17 Feb 2014
In reply to masa-alpin:

Beinn Bhan and Liathach:
http://stewartmountainskills.blogspot.co.uk/
In reply to masa-alpin:

As we have done with the Lakes and Snowdonia, it is probably worth closing this thread in favour of a new smaller one. There are several active threads which provide alternatives for more targeted local reports.

Ben Nevis - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=578573
Northern Cairngorms - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=577837
Skye - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=578299

Since Scotland is a big area and there are certain to be other areas not covered by these three threads then please feel free to start another general thread although it might not be a bad idea to target these as well so that people can check up on specific areas more easily.

Alan
French Erick - on 18 Feb 2014
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

Was it my cheeky comment that led you to close this? It was light hearted banter ;)

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.