Monday, 31 December 2012

Giving the hill a chance and Happy New Year!

Foul weather this morning but the forecast promised better to come so I joined friends for a lateish walk in to Ben Nevis. And it kind of paid off. They were going climbing as a 3 and I had an open mind. We passed hordes retreating in the rain and murk and whilst my pals ploughed on up into Coire na Ciste I diverted to join Jamie B and Robin at the CIC for a brew. Finally they decided to do something so I joined them following the tracks put in by Rich first thing.
The snow was soft but the thaw had revealed plenty of ice. My mates were on No.3 Gully Buttress, Rich had good ice on Thompsons and I watched Jamie B and Robin start up a slightly slushy Wendigo. I was content to solo around them by taking North Gully and found that the avalanches had scoured it to leave the best neve I'd felt in weeks exposed. I wandered across to have a look up very icey Central RH and LH before cutting a big slot in the cornice of North. There was only a small cornice atop No.4 which had also been scoured by avalanches and not refilled yet. I saw Rich there and he told me that the whump I heard before starting up North Gully was the cornice going on South Gully. A bit later than expected that- by that time the snow and ice were firming up and I'd have expected most instability to be passed or improving. It just goes to show how you can't take these thaws for granted and that even after a night a morning of heavy rain and mildness there can still be things waiting to fall down when its starting to get colder again!
Plenty of ice around but we'll see what the coming uber thaw leaves us.

Anyway Happy Hogmanay and here is to a great 2013 for everyone.
"Here's to us,
wha's like us,
dam few
and they're a' deid!"
 Jamie B looking for something solid to stand on
 Wendigo Pitch 1
 Central LH
 Central RH
 My slot in the cornice above North
 Looking up No.3
 Looking up No.2
And Happy New Year to you too!

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