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Topic - UKC/UKH Winter Conditions Report - Ben Nevis 11th April 2014

Mike Pescod - on 11 Apr 2014
This week has seen a continued ssteady thaw of the snow pack and ice on the climbs. We have had a couple of dry, colder days too and a little fresh snow fall above 1000m.

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.

Mike Pescod

http://abacusmountainguides.blogspot.co.uk/
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