Another dry and cold day in the West Highlands. Charlie and I headed onto the North ridge of Stob Ban to cover steep ground, avalanche awareness and safe route planning. Parts of the North Corrie were scoured but still plenty of windslab about. Ridge routes safer in these conditions and the North ridge was looking good today with plenty of hard snow on it. There was a bitterly cold NE wind, not particolary strong but soon chilling down whilst hanging about. The skies cleared toward the end of the afternoon.
Saturday, 27 February 2010
It was back to those usual blue skies, sunshine and great views again today after a couple of snowy days mid week. Charlie is with me for two days winter skills this weekend. We went up the Allt a' Mhuillin and over to the East side of Carn Beag Dearg. There is a nice wee crag I use a lot which is always un-frequented, perfect for today with some windblown areas and ice to go through various axe & crampon techniques. Quite a few centimetres of fresh snow up from the NF carpark but even this morning there was a good trench been ploughed so the going was easy. A lot of windslab on the hills, large areas of which you can actually walk on the surface, of course the avalanche catergory is still HIGH at the moment so not to be deceived. Through out today avalanche awareness, route planning and good observation and safe travel decisions were always running through out the course of today.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Yet another one of those Alpine days! I had a wander round the Carn Mor Dearg Arete onto Ben Nevis today. It was probably the best snow and weather conditions I've ever had on it (I said this in January-so forget that day!) There is so much snow banked along the arete that every hole and boulder is completely covered, it's actually easier to walk along than in summer! fantastic views and a day to be snapping away with the camera. Some fresh snow forecast next couple of days together with strong winds on the tops so no Alpine views for a day or so!
Monday, 22 February 2010
It was yet another stunning day in The Highlands, getting a bit repetitive isn't it? Gillian & I were down at Beinn a' Dothaidh today and we climbed Taxus (III). Great route, the ice lower down was wonderful and the axe placements could be swung in anywhere almost. Superb scenery and finishes on the West summit in the glorious sunshine. Magic. Looks like another cracking day tomorrow too before some new snow Wednesday, maybe or maybe even more sun.
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Yet another stunning day of blue skies and wall to wall sun. A very cold start but once the sun was up and you were in it it was lovely. Linda, Chris and I headed onto the east ridge of Carn Dearg Beag. After leaving the hussle and bussle of skiing parathanalia at the Nevis Range Gondola we were alone for the rest of the day on a untroden blanket of snow. This is an unfrequented wee ridge with great views all round. Lots of sparkling snow crystals on the surface, this is surface hoar and the snowflakes have been transforming ( kintetic growth) with the plunging temperatures over the last few days. See pic. If buried by further snowfall this is a weak layer in the snowpack. Weather is set to be the same tomorrow, how boring :) I remembered the sunglasses today!
Friday, 19 February 2010
What a stunning day, blue skies and sun all day with no breeze. Linda & Chris were with me today on their two day winter skills. We headed up to Coire Mhusagain below Stob ban and went through the basics of walking on snow and ice, axe & crampon techniques and axe arresting. It was very warm in the sun (must remember the shades tomorrow!). Great view into Stob Ban's North face and a quiet spot. There is recent avalanche debris at the bottom of South & North gullies (see last pic). Sub zero temps again overnight and a blue sky day again tomorrow. Wonderful.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
It was a beautiful, cold, clear morning. One of those Alpind days again, so it seemed but a blanket of cloud down to 900m came in by mid day. It was Ryana's 18th Birthday today so all the family wanted to take her to Ben Nevis. A shame there was no view at the summit, indeed it was quite poor visability on the plateau. Hard work ploughing through the fresh snow with at least 20cm of fresh stuff. Staying cold through the weekend with sub zero temps at sealevel during the day and night. Hopfully the forecast of sunshine tomorrow happens, the last few days we have been right on the edge of a front.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
There was overnight snow at all levels leaving Lochaber in a blanket of snow this morning. Back to ploughing through powder snow after abandoning the car half way up Glen Nevis. Amanda, Neil and I went up onto the NE corrie of Stob Ban today. We covered navigation, route choice and avalanche awareness. It was much quieter on the hill after yesterdays foray in Glencoe, with only two other folk on the hill. There is 15cm of fresh snow above 800m with light winds even the ridges were well ladend with snow.