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Topic - UKC/UKH Winter Conditions Report - Ben Nevis 6th February 2014

Mike Pescod - on 06 Feb 2014
Little change on Ben Nevis over the last week. As one dump of snow slowly firms up, another is put down on top! This really is a very snowy winter.

Slightly warmer conditions on Sunday and Monday triggered more massive avalanches. It cooled a little on Tuesday and Wednesday but it snowed some more today.

On Tuesday I climbed NE Buttress. This is an absolute classic climb and with SE winds recently it was likely to be clear of too much fresh snow. We approached by the traverse to the First Platform from Coire Leis on hard snow and took the variation onto the Minus Face at the start. The Minus Face has little ice and lots of snow on it still, as expected.

NE Buttress is so buried in snow that there is very little climbing on it. There is lots of wading and digging for protection but really only the Mantrap is difficult climbing. Even the 40' Corner is steady away but with no protection.

There is a sizeable cornice above the descent into Coire Leis, Number Two Gully has a monster cornice at the top and Number Four Gully has a big one too.

Nobody has been up Observatory Gully for a long time. Ridges and Buttresses are still the best option but some ice has been forming. The Shroud looks fat now and a bit more blue.

Mike Pescod
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