Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

19-03-14, West and East Highlands - Winter Mountaineering

 After only 3 days of fine weather, it has been back to the standard ming-fest for the past 6 days! Over the weekend I was working on a mountaineering course in the West Highlands, we managed to learn some skills and traverse Stob Coire nan Lochain, then ascend Ledge Route on Ben Nevis in super pea soup, though winds weren't as bad as forecast. A massive avalanche was reported; and we heard it, coming down Observatory gully. Some multi-pitch rock climbing in Polldubh was required on Monday to keep moral going! I have been over East side the past couple of days working on a Winter Mountaineering Skills course. The Highlands have been going through a thaw for awhile now, maybe two and a half weeks? A lot of snow has disappeared, but in the north and east facing corries there is still plenty of snow above 900m. Buttresses are very black, cornices are reducing in size, and falling down, along with loose rocks, the snow has lots of cracks. After wishing for a thaw most of the winter we could now do with the freezing level dropping and some new rime forming!

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