Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Monday, 16 December 2013

At last we were able to get up a hill with our group from Welbeck College. Ben Nevis looked a bit mean when we walked in but there was fresh snow above 500m from heavy showers last night. More showers kept coming in for much of the day but it was cold enough that the snow just bounced off us once we were above the level of the CIC Hut.

There is a little old snow left in the big gullies above 1000m. We went up Number Four Gully and followed thin strips of old snow from the lochans skirting the base of the crags up to the mouth of the gully . There was lots of groupel and fresh loose snow but once we were in the gully there was less soft snow and it was a bit easier to climb.

The crags look quite white but just with the fresh snow; they were not well rimed up so the steeper routes were not looking so good. The rocks also need another day or two to freeze properly again after the thaw. Ice is starting to form and it won't be long before everything freezes up well again.

The big gullies are complete but not very full of snow at the moment. However with a good amount of snow fall forecast over the coming week with very strong wind from the south west I think snow will build up quite quickly. It's going to be quite challenging conditions though with lots of fresh snow, strong wind and short days so plan your route carefully.

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