Saturday – Today Nick and I went up to Ben Nevis to cover some winter skills including crampon and axe use, moving safely around the hills in winter, what to do in the event of a slip and avalanche avoidance. We enjoyed some great full winter conditions, with lots of windblown fresh snow over the old snow which is firming up nicely.
Day one – After a substantial thaw on Friday the mountains have a lot less snow than the last couple of weeks. There is plenty left though, although it could do with a good freeze. Today we headed into Stob Coire Nan Lochan with an open mind. Dorsal Arete looked like the best option, as it still had a good covering of snow.
Another cracking report from John who guided Tony on a Winter Climb of Ben Nevis. The next available date for our Winter Ben Nevis Climb is January 29th
On Sunday Tony and I went to ascend Ben Nevis, which was the main objective of his course. Tony had already covered the basic winter skills the day before, so we made good progress up the icy then snowy Pony Track, practicing our crampon use. The cloud came in around 900m, and we were glad of the gloriously rimed cairns to assist our navigation.
Day 5 – We needed a shorter day today, so headed into Glencoe to do Dorsal Arete. It had snowed overnight so although folks had been there the day before, a lot of trail breaking was needed to get into the corrie, up the route, and back down again. The corrie was very quiet, with only a few other teams around enjoying the snow.
Conditions are really good in Scotland at the moment. There is snow down to about 600m meters around Glen Coe and Locaber, above which there is a mix of fresh powder, windblown snow, and hard refrozen snow where the wind has scoured the slopes. It was freezing at all levels today, with frost in the valley’s lasting into the afternoon.