/ Scottish Winter Conditions 2013-2014
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).
So basically the whole winter forum in one thread?!
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!
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
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.
Crampon weather this morning methinks in Argyll
Clear skies ,nasty frost ,and yesterday's low level snow/hail.
Should be refreshing
A glorious day to be on the hills.
The crunch and sparkle of the snow was great.
Not that cold either.
(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.
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.
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.
Turf will be well insulated now so this slight thaw will do it good.
Wouldn't want to have been climbing :o)
Will have to wait until the next weekend now before I can get out. Hopefully some good consolidation happens between now and then!
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...
It does say in the SMC guide Scottish Winter Climbs, that it is III,5 in lean conditions.
Short Circuit - was the turf not mush under all that powder? Not convinced that we should be promoting ascents of such routes.
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)
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!
I suggest you argue it out with Andy Nesbit who part authored the Cairngorms definitive guide.
The first proper corner looks like this IMHO.
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.
I thought it was the third of three but happy to be told not.
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)
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!
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.
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?
"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.
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.
> "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.
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.
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 :)
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).
I've climbed it lean before and found it very good value, III 4 about right. The direct start is a great pitch.
I find it much easier if you don't bridge out left but just go round the corner.
> 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?
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
When was that please?
> 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.
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.
Pretty much, yeah.
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
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!
Which forecast are you looking at?
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.
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
And a hard frost to glue in all them shoogly blocks.
Yes. There is a path and it's quite obvious. You then go over the top of CMD.
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!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
By early afernoon it was below 0 at 900m in the Monadh Liath.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
> 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.
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.
> 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. :)
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
And my very first post said, it would never work. Threads can never be controlled on here. :)
Lochnagar in great nick for mixed routes today too
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.
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
I'll have a look tomorrow for you. How's that for service!
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
Details of todays conditions on Ben Nevis are here as well as some pictures.
Nice one rich. Great blog
Oh well, saved me a 1000 mile round trip for nowt, cheers for the update.
What he said ^^^^^ ! :)
Does anyone know if the turf is well frozen enough on Lochnagar for Central Buttress to be alright just now?
Diamond, cheers mate :)
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.
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.
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.
Thanks both. I'll keep an eye on it over the course of the week.
what route are they on?
That's Haston Line on Mess of Pottage, so unlikely to be representative of Glen Coe!
Oops yes meant to say that that was coire an t'sneachda! Apologies!
So what has the recent warmth done to the hills? Anyone ventured out recently?
looks pretty bad on the web cams, I guess many of the high up major gullies are still there:
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.
AND the light was stunning above the inversion today!
Wow, great light indeed!
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.
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).
Thanks for your reply, provided it doesn't dump it down today that might be a good shout. Weather looks ok tomorrow too. cheers
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.
Anyone think easy mixed/buttresses would be worth a punt mid-week anywhere this coming week?
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.
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.
Lochnagar today, bad times
Cheers Andy, that would have been myself and solar (Alex).
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.
There was a lot in the East facing corries of Beinn a'Bhuird a few days back too.
We were the team on Deep Throat which was in good condition.
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/
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&...
Here is the shot of (I think) The Fara (911m) from Dalwhinnie this morning.
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!):
But I heard the turf was not yet frozen today Tuesday in Mess of Pottage in Sneachda.
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?
The MWIS outlook is for a lot, lot, lot of snow slowly building from now til after New Year
It's snowing in Knoydart down to 200m as I type this. And it was quite windy last night in case anyone was wondering.
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 ;-)
Snowing down to the road in Glencoe, wet snow falling with an air temp of 0c.
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.
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?
check the SAIS reports
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!
There are some pictures of SCnL in Glencoe from today here.
Nice sunny day in Glasgow! Anyone further up north got info on conditions? Especially Glencoe area?
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?
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!!)
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.
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
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.
Anyone been out and about yesterday or heading out today?
Anyone aware of snow conditions for ski-touring around the Ben Lawers to Glen Lyon area please?
Ben Nevis today, had to abort our initial objectives... http://www.masterplan-mountaineering.co.uk/2013/12/swimming-ledge-route/
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.
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.
skiing on cairngorm was very icy. quite a few teams out in sneachtdha (sorry). aladdins mirror icefall looked quite bare. cornices quite substantial.
No wish to start an argument, but instead of saying sorry, why not just look up the correct spelling?
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.
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...
Were the approach slopes hard going?
Not really, I was occasionally sinking up to mid calf, but it was by no means tough going.
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...
We attempted to climb at Coire an t-Sneachda today, but were thwarted by the wind.
Great conditions on an teallach today with consolidated snow in the easy gullies. Bad weather now mind so may all change.
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.
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).
Anyone been up the Cobbler / Glen Coe of late? How was it?
Looking for a first grade III this weekend, recommendations?
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!).
Cheers Toby, sounds perfect!
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?
Ah, not what I wanted to hear. Any recommendations grade III in Glen Coe?(I've done Curved Ridge so not that please.)
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 )
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.
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!
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.
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...?)
Certainly a big contrast with last December! Like you say, we've really been spoilt with some of the last few winters.
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.
Cobbler was very, very wet and not frozen at all today. Failure!
Do we know what Tuesday/wednesday looking like?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
The fan split into three runs, covering about 500m in total. Huuuuuge
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
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!
Anyone hazard a guess as to what the temperature change today and predicted tomorrow will do to the snowpack? Glencoe especially?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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!
Did anyone climb any of the easier routes in the Northern Corries today?
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.
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.
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.
Yeah we went up and had a look, saw the conditions,immediately thought 'f**k that' and turned around!
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.
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.
Nice photos James! Looks like you had a good day out. Those cornices are a bit large!
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!
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.
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...
I was out in the Cairngorms over the weekend and climbed The Runnel, Doctor's Choice & Pygmy Ridge, here's a quick blog:
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?
It is reported to be harder with no ice, did it have good snow build up?
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...
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.
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.
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.
Nice one Andy, Heading up there on Thursday and thinking of doing the Ring of Steall. Cheers for the update.
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?
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.
Northern Corries via Aviemore via ski bus. The sleeper is too late getting into Fort William to be an option.
I remember going quite a way, and it being pretty awkward. Though judging by the tracks multiple variations had been taken.
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.
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/
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.
Anyone got any idea how much todays thaw is affecting the norries? MWIS seems to suggest lots of melting
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.
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.
For easier routes, I think it will make it even better!
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!
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......
Has anyone been into the Shelter Stone recently and perhaps have some pics?
Looks pretty white!
This entry is two days old. The snow pack has improved since then.
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?
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.
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/
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"
See Adam Russell's photo on FB (Greg is tagged). Looks good to me.
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.
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...
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 :-(
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.
Was it not III/IV in the older guides?
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.
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.
Anyone know the climbing conditions in the Glencoe or Ben Nevis areas? Any ice forming on any grade 3 or 4 routes for example?
Wondering that same thing!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:-)
No, Birmingham! Just being soft/sensible. Wasn't pleasant. Yeah ok it's Scottish winter...
And again today, but the views were pretty poor.
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?
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.
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.
A couple of views of the Ben Today - Minus face looks plastered in snow.
Plenty of ice about - but it might be under a lot of snow!
Easy gullies on Liathach in good nick. Poachers should be there after a few days freeze.
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
Do you happen to know how the gullies on An Teallach are looking? Lean as well?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good route. When I did it, Raeburn's Chimney didn't seem tech 6 under normal conditions either.
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!
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.
Of the debris? No, not really. A couple of our snaps show stuff visible in the background but that's all!
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!
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
It's getting me a wee bit doon :(
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.
dont tell me that!
i have a train for aviemore on friday and 2 days of guiding booked!
it does get me down too
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? :)
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.
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...
I prefer the challenge of the climb not the challenge of actually being finding conditions to climb it in the first place.
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….
There's hoofing great amounts of snow about but there's still stuff to get at safely.
Not going to go anywhere now. Oh well.
Thanks for that Ken, I know the guys you were with. Glad they all had a good time.
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! ;-(
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.
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/
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Great route isn't it!
Has it been cold enough? I really doubt it mate
Was done earlier this week in dodgy mixed nick with very little gear. Didn't sound great.
Done on the BMC internaional meet, so??
Anyone out on the ben today who knows what conditions are like please?
My mate did Cutlass on the Douglas Boulder. His photos make it look VERY wild weather.
I was out in Arrochar today climbing Chockstone Gully and Great Gully. Photos and conditions report on the climbnow.co.uk blog.
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:
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/
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
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.
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?
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?
Was considering Kami-Kaze, driving from Aberdeen tonight, so fair trip, what would you say? Worth the gamble?
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.
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.
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.
Baws. Can't argue if you've been there the day.
You get something done yourself yesterday?
Cheers for the info.
Just to clarify we never even went up the hill today, so my beta is based on 'view from car'.
Small?? They were big enough for me to need a new pair of underpants.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Good effort bivvying the other night. Respect.
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.
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?
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.
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)
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.
Pretty ethereal nick that, not sure if it can be used for advance forecasting.
Your right there Jamie but its very nice to look at.
Has anybody been near gully number3/4 on Ben Nevis or the cmd of late if so what are the conditions like
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
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.
Squeezing through is the highlight of the route. The exit is brilliant. I would always do it!
Does anyone know if Lochnagar (or other south cairngorm venues) is in condition or burried like its northern counterparts?
Is the Hurting banked out at Grade II yet?
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.
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.
> 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.
You should be able to pick it up...
Go like frack...
How about Glen Clova?
Nowhere near cold enough recently for clova to be in, imho.
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 :)
Running low on ideas now - Lurchers? Or should I just admit defeat and drink beer and watch sports this weekend.
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
Nice one, that looks grand. What was the snow pack like? I see the avalanche warning isnt looking so good for that aspect.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Stob Ban was very snowy yesterday, wouldn't have wanted to be much higher!
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.
I'd be happy enough to grade it IV,5.
Pretty similar to East Buttress which gets IV,5.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Wouldn't have thought so. Not really cold enough. I think there might just be loads of snow...
Thanks - yes it looks new. Hopefully it's well keyed in.
That is the new step for definite.
Difficult to tell how solid it is with so much snow around it... It is certainly big!
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?
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!
seemed to be lots of other parties also at the crag though dont know what lese was climbed
Any chance of anything getting done at Glen Clova this weekend?
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:
Which begs a cheeky answer: independent thinking?
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!
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.
Headed up to Poacher's Fall on Liathach today, fantastic route!
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.
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/
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.
Was it my cheeky comment that led you to close this? It was light hearted banter ;)
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