Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Thursday, 28 February 2013

28-02-13, Liathach, Torridon - Winter Climbing

The crux of George, great sticky ice today.
A slight change in proceedings today, the clag and warmth was in and the drizzle had everyone in gore-tex from the minibus. It was a bit of a shock for everyone as the weather has been so fabulous, the mojos were taking a dive! We headed around the back of Liathach to climb the ever reliable George, III,4. The corrie snow was starting to thaw and slush, the ice was chewy and very climbable as to be expected in these conditions!
Umbrella  Falls and Poachers still there just.

27-02-13, Sgorr Ruadh, Glen Carron, NW Highlands - Winter Climbing

The 'easy bit' on Easy Gully, Sgorr Ruadh!
Sgorr Ruadh in the North-West today. We walked up the fine 4 km path to the cliff. Hard neve still about, not many climbs in condition however. The only probable line was Easy Gully to the right of Central Couloir. It has a steep section at the bottom but no gaps yet! It is certainly not guidebook grade II either, definitely some III there not so 'Easy' gully! The view deteriorated through out the day, cloud and dark skies rolling in as the temperature has also started to rise.
The right hand side of  Central Couloir.
Descending hard neve in Central Couloir.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

26-02-13, Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms - Winter Climbing

Fiaciall Butress frame.
 Team tired legs after yesterdays Penguin Gully foray  A mellow walk in was in order, so Northern Corries it was. Clear crisp day again. So far we have done a turfy mixed route, a classic snow/ice gully, so a classic mid-grade Cairngorm mixed route - Fingers Ridge. The corrie wasn't that busy today, everyone is probably ice climbing on Ben Nevis!
Fingers Ridge, classic shot.
Corner pitch.
Initial pitch.

25-02-13, Beinn Dearg, Northern Highlands - Winter Climbing

Mighty West buttress of Beinn Dearg.
A fantastic day today, on Beinn Dearg in the North. We made the long walk up the forestry track to the west buttress. Emerald Gully, Finian etc were not in condition, big gaps and ice not fat enough. Penguin Gully however, is in amazing condition. 3 quality grade III+/IV pitches, with some grade I/II. What a great route, it is a crime that it is not included in Ken Wilson's Cold Climbs. Long walk-in, long run but very satisfying. The Ice Hose has a fair amount of ice on it, but the start is broken, there maybe a way around, the middle section maybe climbable? Conditions are still ace at present.
Fat Ice, pitch 4 of Penguin Gully.
Penguin Gully pitch 1.

Awesome line of Penguin Gully III/IV 320m ****.
Ice Hose middle pitches look brilliant, if only you could get to them!
Fine Plateau walk to summit of Beinn Dearg, Inverpolly mountains in the background.
An Teallach.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

24-02-13, Creagan Coire an t-Slugain, Glen Shiel - Winter Climbing

Creagan Coire an t-Slugain, Glen Shiel.
Back working in the North-West Highlands again this week. High pressure still hanging around, cold temperatures as well. We headed to Glen Shiel and walked up to Creag Coire an t-Slugain. Rock hard neve everywhere, with plenty of avalanche debris from over a week ago at the base of double gully. Initially I thought we would climb Pioneer Gully, III, as I knew it was in condition, but once we got to see the crag up close I thought some of the other routes maybe in condition. We climbed The Triangle, IV,4, which gave 4 good pitches on frozen turf, useful snow and icy smears, I got a few screws in but the ice wasn't really fat, just handy enough to climb. Some of the other routes maybe possible but if they rely on continuous ice it would be doubtful!
Turfy slabby moves.
Druim Shionnach and t-Slugain.

Creagan an t-Slugain.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

21-02-13, Liathach, Torridon - Winter Climbing

Liathach - Beinn Alligin - Beinn Dearg.
 Last day of Intro Winter Climbing course in the North-west. Another stonker of a day, very fine weather, all lying snow is bomber neve. We climbed George on the north side of Liathach. It is in great condition. There is ice on the back wall of Spidean Choire Liath, but I am suspect as to how attached Poachers Falls is!
Top of George.
Glorious bomber neve on the summit slopes.

Classic Liathach snow ridge.
Beinn Dearg.

Spidean Choire Liath.
The approach.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

20-02-13, Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms - Winter Climbing

Approach slopes to the trident gullies.
A different day today, plenty of clag and 30mph winds, plenty of folk wandering around very lost in the coire! We went in search of something slightly harder than grade II and of the mixed variety. The Grooved Rib III,4 between The Runnel and Crotched Gully, very nice short route with plenty of ice and useful snow on the approach to the chimney right hand version. The freezing level was down today and rime has been forming on the rocks.
Last pitch after the chimney.
The start.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

19-02-13, North West Highlands - Stunner

Cuillin, Skye.
View from Bealach na Ba, Applecross.
Cioch Nose, Applecross.

Monday, 18 February 2013

18-02-13, Sgorr Ruadh, North-West Highlands - Winter Climbing

Fuar Tholl and Sgorr Ruadh.
 Another fantastic day in the North-West highlands. Slightly further walk today but still quite chilled, to Sgorr Ruadh in Glen Carron. A great walk in with this fine weather, slightly cooler this morning but did thaw throughout the day. The snow was quite firm, a lot firmer than yesterdays slush fest! There are not many routes climbable on the face, Postbox Gully was good, chimney pitch has some some good sport, plenty of snow and ice on the following pitches. Central Couloir had a great covering of snow and it looked like Easy Gully would be climbable, High Gully and other icy lines are not!
After the slot on Postbox Gully, Sgorr Ruadh.
Sgorr Ruadh, hard neve snow still exists, harder routes not in condition.
Fuar Tholl looking south.
Beinn Alligin, Liathach, Beinn Eighe.
Descending Central Couloir.
Looking to Cuillin.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

17-02-13, Fuar Tholl, North-West Highlands - Winter Climbing

Sgurr Rhuadh, Beinn Alligin, Liathach, Beinn Eighe from summit of Fuar Tholl.
 The North-West highlands have been fantastic today. High pressure conditions, brilliant views, snow has held in just on the high corries. The temperatures are on the plus side so the snow is slushy, but as soon as the freezing level drops it will be amazing. Today I was out with a team on an Intro-Climber course for Moran Mountain, we walked up Fuar Tholl, to the snow basin, recapped some basic skills in the slush then ascended Access Gully with plenty of bucket seats and buried axes to the right hand variant finish. High pressure set to hang around so should be brilliant the next few days, but it would be handy if the freezing level dropped!
Top of Access Gully slush fest!
Fuar Tholl.
Awesome views.
Liathach some snow on the ridge.