/ UKC/UKH Winter Conditions Report - Ben Nevis 11th April 2014
In the rain and thaw conditions there have been several large cornice collapses. These have been above Hadrian's Wall / Point Five Gully and above The Upper Cascades / Number Two Gully.
The great ridges are still in nice Spring (Alpine) condition with sections of good snow and sections of dry rock. Castle Ridge is clear of old snow, Observatory Ridge is clear of snow in the bottom third (crux) section. Tower Ridge and NE Buttress are half and half, snow and rock.
General snow cover still starts at about 800m. The big gullies are very full and glide cracks or creep lines are found in may places. These are most common under the crags in the coire and at the tops of the gullies. However there are some in Number Two Gully and in fairly random places. With the snow being several metres deep you do not want to fall in to one of these cracks!
There is some nice mid-grade climbing to enjoy with no cornices above. These areas include Goodeve's Buttress (The White Line, The Gutter, Hale Bopp Groove) and Comb Gully Buttress. Comb Gully was climbed a week ago and Comb Gully Left Flank looks very nice with no cornice at all.
The Pony Track has continuous snow cover from 1000m up the way and many of the cairns are still buried (although one or two are making a reappearance). CMD Arete is quite rocky now with a few sections of snow. Ledge Route is dry for the narrow section with snow above and below.
Looks like a breezy but cool weekend. Have fun.
Don't suppose you saw what the North Trident and Moonlight Gully Buttress areas were like? I'm guessing they're too low to have had anything in the way of ice survive, but were they still pretty white looking? Any info greatly appreciated.
Moonlight was black when I was up on Thursday through no.5. If you want any kind of climbable snow or ice you're going to have to go high up.
cornices falling down above point 5 and Hadrian's, that is good news! are they still complete? looked it on Tuesday but it rained allot weds...
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