I joined aout 100 others walking into the North face of the Ben today to take advantage of the glorious weather. I had planned on a light sack soloing day and headed into Coire na Ciste and up No.2 collecting 4 pieces of insitu gear on the way. No.2 was in Grade 1 condition being a uniform snow slope with deep footprints and no cornice. I popped down No.3 (short ab over the cornice from a bollard - ta Nick) and back around the Comb heading for Raeburns Easy Route when I found Jamie B and Will from The Ice Factor starting up Cascade. They kindly let me tie on and Will and I seconded Mr.B up this good pitch of ice. I waved fairwell to them at the belay and soloed my way ack to the plateau along Raeburns Easy to find myself face to face with a film crew decamped from a helicopter near the top of No.3 (didnt see who the star of the show was). Back down No.3 and down to Torlundy on the excellent new path not really in a hurry to leave the views of Rum, Skye, the Paps of Jura and the rest of the West Highlands on a spectacular day.
In the Ciste teams were out on Central Right hand, Green and Comb (all complete but a little thin and sporting). Also No.3 Gully Buttress, Raeburns Easy, Ledge Route and 2,3,4 and 5 are all full of hard snow. Cascade was running with a little water and was a bit hollow and dinnerplatey high up, wet and friendlier for axes in the middle and steeper and glassy low down.