/ UKC/UKH Winter Conditions Report - Ben Nevis 17th April 2014
The great ridges on Ben Nevis are fantastic fun at the moment with plenty of useful snow and clean dry rock just where you want it. Tower Ridge, NE Buttress, Observatory Ridge and Ledge Route are all a mix of snow and rock and sunshine just now!
There are a few nice mid-grade ice lines to enjoy as well. With frosty nights and dry air the snow is quite firm but the ice is not well attached to the rocks underneath so you need to be a bit careful. Zero Gully, Hadrian's Wall Direct and Point Five Gully look complete but they were broken last week. I'm not sure that they will be nice to climb at the moment - I think the ice is cruddy and soft but I could be wrong. Indicator Wall and Smith's Route are complete but both have cornices above them that are quite frightening.
General snow cover starts above 700m or so and there are very many creep lines and sag cracks in the snow slopes and behind cornice lines. These are very deep in some places and a few have streams running underneath. Take care not to fall in!
It looks like it will be a cracking Easter weekend. Have fun.
Did a variation on Number 3 gully buttress on Friday. There was a proper frost (-3 C in the car park at 6AM) and the main snow ice runnels were pretty well frozen, with the thinner stuff being a bit detached and crumbly. The bergshrund/cracks had widened in Zero, Hadrians and Point 5 after the thaw on Wednesday. All very alpine! Comb gully and Green gully were both climbed on Friday and looked to be in great shape, although the cornice above Green looked to be rather crumbly still after the partial collapse on Wednesday.
Has anyone found a 60m single rope in a tree in the north face car park? We somehow managed to leave it there on Friday after climbing and would be v grateful for its return! Thanks if anyone has it!
It was definitely there this morning when we headed up the path at 6am.
Ah, it should be nice and dry now then!
Cool, has anyone picked it up? Will pay beers for its safe return! Thanks again
Why were you climbing trees in the North Face carpark?
Cos the left branch is a classic finish...
Anyone been up Castle Ridge / Ledge Route of late?
Planning on going for a scramble up Castle and back down Ledge at the weekend and wondered if there is any snow? Will approach shoes be alright or will boots / axes / poons be required?
Castle will be fine and most of Ledge route should be as well, but maybe a pair of sturdy boots for coming down the bottom section of no.5 could be handy.
Castle ridge is clear, most of ledge route is clear and no.5 gully is still holding snow.
Given Saturdays forecast far from clear. Expect lots of extra traffic, congestion and inevitable delays, best allow some extra time for your journey. (I'm rostered on this weekend and more than a little p*shed aff) :(
Ledge Route is clear of snow but the approach up No. 5 is still a snow filled Gully.
Cheers. I'll pack my axe then.
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