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Ben nevis condition

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I am heading up on Sunday. Has anybody had chance to scope out any of the winter routes on Ben Nevis? Any of the gullies potentially still a goer?

I know it's a long shot, some trad if not!  Many thanks

 mrphilipoldham 18 May 2021
In reply to Shane1990:

Quick tip - if you go to Logbook, then Conditions, you can see all the recently logged winter ascents. Obviously doesn't help if people are out who don't log on here, but a good identifier.

In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Many thanks, I'll take a look. I haven't used all the features of the site, I'll definitely start digging now.

In reply to mountain.martin:

Enough to work with then. Shame it looks like absolute mush.

I did Google this too, hard to believe when you're linking me the BBC! Perhaps I need to look a bit better.

Many thanks though!

 pec 18 May 2021
In reply to mountain.martin:

> from yesterday


That's funny, I was just talking with a mate yesterday about how we retreated from the Tower Gap down Observatory Gully after getting benighted on Tower Ridge about 30 years ago. We got caught in two slow motion "avalanches" in Observatory Gully just like that.

I wonder if its local phenomenon? Perhaps the slope angle or something? On that ocassion it turned mild and started raining so the snow went very slushy, a bit like in the video.

 DaveHK 18 May 2021
In reply to pec:

> I wonder if its local phenomenon? 

​​​​​​The news story made it sound very rare but I've seen it a few times in Scotland and the Alps. A skiers slough often behaves in much the same way

Post edited at 21:36
 smithg 18 May 2021
 CurlyStevo 18 May 2021
In reply to Shane1990:

Yeah maybe but be prepared for abnormal conditions. Think summer alpine but less so maybe

In reply to DaveHK:

I've seen it before too on the Ben. More like a slough than an avalanche.

In reply to pec:

I view that as a bit of a strange response from the skier dudes to visible (albeit narrow) avalanche activity right next on their path, possibly a response driven by the commitment heuristic. With a very large bowl of snow for a few hundred vertical metres feeding that slide, some might say that going elsewhere would be a good move.

2
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Admittedly the vid does not show whether they pressed on or went elsewhere.

Does anyone know what they did?

No criticism, their assessment, their day, their risk/benefit tolerance, and we can all learn from others' experiences.

In reply to smithg:

Cheers for that, i'll keep an eye on it. 

Looks like a bit of freeze/thaw will continue for a while on the Met Office. Hopefully one of the easier gullies may still go! Assuming the cornices (if still large) aren't melting death traps that is.

 Adam Godwin 19 May 2021
In reply to Shane1990:

This maybe of interest Shane:

https://www.winterclimbingforecasts.co.uk/

Many of the easy snow gullies on the Ben are forecast to be in condition by the models on there this weekend. Although please read the disclaimer and faqs to appreciate what it is predicting and what it is not i.e. it is not making the decision for you whether it is safe to approach, climb and descend from them.

Full disclosure I'm the creator of this site, so feel free to delete UKC admins if this is inappropriate advertising.

 DaveHK 19 May 2021
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

> I view that as a bit of a strange response from the skier dudes to visible (albeit narrow) avalanche activity right next on their path, possibly a response driven by the commitment heuristic. With a very large bowl of snow for a few hundred vertical metres feeding that slide, some might say that going elsewhere would be a good move.

They were present on the hill and you weren't so I'm inclined to say that their judgement and response is more likely to be correct than yours. After all, you're making that judgement based on very limited information.

Also,I know at least one of them and I'm 100% certain they would have assessed the risk very thoroughly indeed.

2
 Dave Cundy 19 May 2021
In reply to mountain.martin:

The slide is so narrow, it's almost as if there's a stream underneath that is carrying slush with it.  Perhaps not really an avalanche at all, or at least, not in the conventional sense.

1
In reply to DaveHK:

Hi Dave

I agree with everything you said there - my second post.

I'm intrigued to know what they found of conditions higher up.

As I said, no criticism. 

In reply to Adam Godwin:

Adam, perfect, many thanks and great work. A good aid to support forecasts and judgement on the day. 

At least it will be worth the slog up; always one of the ridges if not!

 BruceM 19 May 2021
In reply to Shane1990:

Currently it is quite warm up there with about 15-20cm+ of slush on top of hardish neve.  Fading fast and the smaller gullies are patchy and not complete. Would not want to be on or under anything too steep.

In reply to BruceM:

Bit more risk averse since having the little one. Perhaps just wait out until next season then.

 wee jamie 24 May 2021
In reply to Shane1990:

We've had two days and two nights of cold here.  Some good ice and neve up high on the Ben yesterday.  Tower Scoop, Glover's Chimney, Comb Gully all ok.  Good Friday too I expect (but just guessing).  Point 5 complete but probably not that nice.  Easy gullies in excellent condition.  I did Number 2 Gully.  A team on Tower Ridge but would've been pretty cold and exposed in the strong winds.  Temps rising a little now.

In reply to wee jamie:

Cheers mate. We are heading up there on Weds, as it seems to be improving around then. 

Barn wall route today with the direct start. I was told it goes when the rock is wet. However, it was a waterfall today. Even in gloves the hands were far too cold. Retreated off the direct start pitch...a moderate! 

Humbled, and lessons learned. 

 Al Todd 25 May 2021
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: Hi Nick, conditions were exactly as I’d thought they would be that day, otherwise I wouldn’t have been anywhere near Observatory Gully, a place I know from frequent visits over many years. Hence the snow was perfect for ski descents, not so good for climbing although Tower Scoop was still in great dry condition. Cornices were stable and almost all face ice had already peeled off. 
Re the avalanche comments, everyone tends to think of avalanches as being an explosive events with a mass of snow suddenly releasing. What we saw wasn’t unusual and could well be better described as sluff which I’ve often seen when late season snow falls onto warm granular old snow and then the temperatures slowly warm up. However what was unusual for Scotland was it’s length, extending from high on the top flanks of Tower ridge right down to where the snow ran out at the bottom of Observatory Gully, it’s consistency and also it’s duration. 
A friend reposted it on his Twitter feed, from where the BBC got in touch. A total piece of non news but it filled a space on their often out of date web page. They also then used it immediately before the weather forecast on Reporting Scotland.  I’ve long since given up trying to work out what the media see as newsworthy!

> Hi Dave

> I agree with everything you said there - my second post.

> I'm intrigued to know what they found of conditions higher up.

> As I said, no criticism. 


 PaulTclimbing 28 May 2021
In reply to mountain.martin:

A long pour of liquid frozen white concrete 

 fmck 29 May 2021
In reply to Al Todd:

Recently a friends wife posted on Facebook post of her visit to a plane crash site on Largs moor. It's an often visited place and there are scrawled mentions from the 60s to present day. A newspaper got hold off this and ran it like the flight had been missing for nearly 70 years. It got sold to several papers and magazines and an American television network got in touch. It all died a death when it came out as a non event. If you read it they don't actually say they were the first to discover it but make it seem that way. 

BTW the fight was lost in the 50s for 2 days.


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