Sunday 1 January 2017

Ben Nevis Conditions

Happy 2017 everyone! hope you have a pleasant an prosperous year (unless your name is Trump or Farage in which case you can sod off).
Mette, Simon and I headed to Ben Nevis today having postponed our two days that coincided with the 'great flood'. We found a reduced but firm snowpack, a lot less of the older, climbable ice than there was but lots of smaller smears formed. We saw a party on an extremely lean No.3 Gully Buttress and the rime level was near the bottom of the Comb. Cracks seemed icey higher up but we spoke to a pair who had retreated after enjoying good conditions on the first 2 pitches of Gargoyle Wall (I handed their bandolier back to them having found it further down- they'd dropped it, hence the retreat). Mette and simon put in 3 pitches to get up a well stepped No.3 Gully (no cornice exit) battling strong blustery gusts in the gully but quieter conditions on the plateau. We wandered across to No.4 Gully (passing a broken pitch 1 of N. Gully) and soloed down again finding lots of steps and strong gusty winds that pursued us half way down the track to the forest, often blowing spray from the Allt a Mhuillin onto the path 15-20m away!
More snow please!
 Looking lean and green!
 Rocky Coire but complete No.3- lean elsewhere
 Blue sky up there!
 In the wind and the rime
 Despite bitter cold water running over ice on right
Nearly the top
 Bringing up Simon
 Exit pitch
 Descending No.4
 Kicking in
 Looking across to a very lean Pitch one of No.3 GB

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