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Topic - UKC/UKH Winter Conditions Report - Ben Nevis 27th February 2014

Mike Pescod - on 27 Feb 2014
Last weekend gave us the first penetrating thaw to summit levels of the year. Torrential rain accompanied warmer temperatures and triggered some very impressive avalanches. Full depth avalanches in the Mamores traveled a long way down into the glens and large avalanches came out of The Castle Gullies, Number Five Gully, Number Two Gully and Observatory Gully.

The temperature has fluctuated and slowly gone down over the last four days with more snowfall on Tuesday night. Today the old snow was starting to freeze into icy neve and the fresher stuff was quite firm as well.

This weekend is forecast colder and dryer so there is a chance that there will be some good climbing on the ice routes. However, there are some very large cornices above many routes so careful route selection is still required.

At the moment The Curtain is the only ice climb that has seen many ascents. All the great ridges have been climbed and are excellent. The big easy snow gullies all have major cornices at their tops.

Possibly the best climbing will be on icy mixed climbs such as Thompson's Route and Pinnacle Buttress. However, it will all be a bit exploratory! As far as I'm aware, nobody has been up high in Observatory Gully and even Coire na Ciste has had few visits this year.

Have fun at the weekend and be prepared for it to be a bit busy.

Mike Pescod
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