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.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Ben Nevis glistened in the sunshine today after the rain cleared this morning. The snow is bright white, the sun is shining and the rock is dry. The great ridges on Ben Nevis are fantastic fun at the moment with plenty of useful snow and clean dry rock just where you want it. Tower Ridge, NE Buttress, Observatory Ridge and Ledge Route are all a mix of snow and rock and sunshine just now! There are a few nice mid-grade ice lines to enjoy as well. With frosty nights and dry air the snow is quite firm but the ice is not well attached to the rocks underneath so you need to be a bit careful. Zero Gully, Hadrian's Wall Direct and Point Five Gully look complete but they were broken last week. I'm not sure that they will be nice to climb at the moment - I think the ice is cruddy and soft but I could be wrong. Indicator Wall and Smith's Route are complete but both have cornices above them that are quite frightening.

General snow cover starts above 700m or so and there are very many creep lines and sag cracks in the snow slopes and behind cornice lines. These are very deep in some places and a few have streams running underneath. Take care not to fall in!

The trails are dry too for mountain biking which is what I was doing today. I was coaching the coaches of the first year students on the Adventure Tourism Management degree. We were at Nevis Range and we got hooked up in the official opening of the new Green and Blue trails. The Witches Trails are now family friendly - the Blue trail is particularly good for any rider of intermediate standard to advanced. It's a very well built trail.

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