Friday, November 28, 2008

NW weather

The cold front arrived late last night and snow fell down to a couple of hundred metres. It was -2 this morning and is +2 just now at sea level.
Friends are climbing on the Eastern Ramparts of Beinn Eighe today (they rang at 9.30 as they got to the corrie and realised that they had forgotten to pack the guidebook!) so i should get a fair idea of what's what from them this evening.
I'm free from Sunday onwards at the moment and it is looking like the cold spell will last till at least Thursday. Get in touch for some last minute guiding, it's looking like the best start to the winter in several years.

***Stop Press***
Further to the Beinn Eighe two story! It seems they are on a new route and are one pitch from the top but not sure where to go! They rang my friend Roger as they were probably too embarassed to ring me back, but Roger rang me anyway. I feel a micky taking text building...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday in the Cairngorms

Went out today hoping to get into the Loch Avon Basin but Pete's sore knee meant that we opted for an easier day In Sneachda. The corrie had a few parties in it looking into the gloom for routes such ad Fingers Ridge and Pygmy Ridge but the cloud was down all day adding to the rime on the cliffs.

We started up a route on Fiachaell Buttress but found really really thick riming which meant the line we wanted might have been too dangerous as the gear cracks were very verglassed and buried under a foot of rime.

We backed off and did the route Fiachaell Buttress and then the Escapologist (and discovered that the final corner really does need ice if it is to be climbed at the guidebook grade)
The thaw that was heading over from the west came at about 2pm and a fine drizzle fell as we walked home.

If the thaw is not accompanied by rain then there should be lots of ice on the crags when it freezes again. This will make some lines really scary and some really easy. The crux is to find out which line is in which category!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday on the Shelter Stone

We went over to the Loch Avon and found snow down to the loch. The descent down Corie Dohain was fine, the North wind had transported a lot of snow over to it but it was easy to pick out a line down it to avoid the wind slab.
Carn Etchecan was well rimed up and in great condition, Shelter stone less so. The Needle etc wasn't there yet on Saturday. The turf was excellent, it had been very saturated before the big freeze came. Nick, Sam and i opted for a short day and combined Postern with the finish of Clach Dian Chimney so we could get back in time for a dinner party. On Sunday we all recovered with a walk in the snow which fell down to sea level here in Conon Bridge. Reports today from the Cairngorms spoke of a wild minging day! I enjoyed my lie in bed this morning.
It's looking good for the next few days, i hope to get out in the N.W at some stage (if i finish the underfloor heating!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Northern Corries report

Well, the Cairngorm summit temp data wasn't that promising yesterday with the temp hovering around zero. Unfortunately it stopped transmititng for some unknown reason last night (it still seems to be off line) so as i'm generally an optimist Roger and i went for a look. He wasn't as optimistic as i was (more realist!) and we weren't really in a rush. It was 6 deg when we left the ski car park at 11.15 this morning and it was either as warm or warmer in the corrie which was shrouded in damp mist, thus preventing any real temp gradient with height.

There is snow in many of the gullies and when it re-freezes they should provide good sport on neve. There is some ice growing and if the thaw is short and not accompanied by heavy rain several routes should have ice in the corners which the old school will love and the new school hate!

We didn't do any climbing and went for a coffee. Note that when we looked back to the corries on the walk out they looked significantly blacker an hour later (we had lunch behind a boulder) as a fine drizzle was falling.
Sunday may be OK for the easy gullies and selected mixed climbs but i'm not sure how much riming on the steep routes will occur on Saturday.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

3rd ascent of 'The Secret' Ben Nevis

Just heard from one of the first ascensionists that 'The Secret' high up in Corie Na Cieste on Ben Nevis has received its 3rd ascent from Blair Fyffe and Tony Stone, with Tony cruising the big pitch.
What an awesome start to the winter!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Northern Corries Report

Well, i couldn't pesuade Martin Hind (Harpic) to get out of bed early and so left the ski car park at 10am and walked into Sneachda. Heavy deep snow on the walk in but ok in the well established trail.

We thought about doing a few things but the crags were very buried and so just chose to do Belhaven on Fiechale Buttress. Many other routes were done such as the Seam, Invernookie, lots of parties on Fingers ridge and Pygmy ridge, the haston line and the Message. Basically you can see the dots in the images and the Movie bellow. Savage slit had an ascent and was freshly 'hoovered' as was Deep Throat. No sign of an ascent of Fall out Corner though. One brave party was making a mixed ascent of the ice line Patey's route.

Special mention must go to Dave Kerr and partner who left the crowds behind and headed over to an excellent looking Carn Etchechan to make a fast ascent of Guillotine.

The temp went up and then down today. The deep turf on ledges is poor but exposed turf is great. Sunday should be good, then it will be a case of watch the forecast (summit data from the Cairngorm weather station is worth watching). I'm off to North Wales for a few days unfortunately