Friday, 18 December 2009

A morning on Ben Nevis





I had a half day off, before returning home for baby-sitting duty, so Rich picked me up at 0730 for a quick hit on Ben Nevis. We were far from the first into Coire na Ciste with parties gearing up at the foot of No.3 Gully Buttress and Central Left Hand and 2 teams heading up towards No.2 Gully as we arrived. We made a quick decision that we just had enough time for Green Gully. This turned out to be a good choice; whilst its not fat it was in friendly condition with good ice helpfully stepped in places. We had only taken a light rope and rack so we didn't have much in the way of gear to worry about and were on top in short time. Whilst we climbed the visibility dropped and a few large snowflakes came down (no wind though). We passed the top of No.3 Buttress which looked well rimed (not too heavy for a mixed route to look attractive though) and dropped down No.4 Gully. Most of the snow underfoot in the coire is firm. There is plenty of ice around (good screws available in Green today) and North Gully, Central LH and RH, South Gully, No.3 Gully Buttress, Green Gully, Garadh Gully and Glovers (a little thin at the base) would all have been good options today.
Mike and Danny were both out today and should have reports on their sites on Ben Nevis.
Rich was out on Aonach Mor yesterday reporting more in the way of soft snow and some very large cornices about.
Enjoy the weekend but pay close attention to the incoming snow and winds, watch the SAIS forecast and make a careful judgement about where you go.

41 comments:

Spike Sellers said...

Ace!

Alan said...

Almost as good as your footwork!
;-)
Al

Anonymous said...

When you said be careful about where you go, does this mean there's an avalanche risk about? I'v been keeping an eye on conditions and i'm expecting things to be pretty firm, taking a rookie up tower gully then down number 4 (next wednesday). Did you see any large cornices around this area?

Alan said...

Hi Anon. Yesterday there were no real problems with avalanche hazard or cornicing on the easy gullys. But the forecast is for stong winds and snow so things could be very different today or tomorrow (snowing as I write this). Keep a good eye on the SAIS forecast and the wind direction. Remember although some of the gullys might seem to face in a safe direction they are funnel shaped and the wind can create a vortex loading slopes with aspects you might not expect. Approach with caution. All these blog reports are reportig what was seen on the day. Then we have to take the weather forecast to identify what it will be like a day or so later.
Al

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