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.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Hadrian's Wall Direct on Ben Nevis is one of my favourite ice climbs because it is such an open and exposed face it goes up. Add brilliant ice, calm and cold conditions and nobody else climbing out of Observatory Gully and you get a fantastic day of climbing. The approach slopes are reasonably stable and the ice on the route (although not as fat as I've seen it) is plentiful and solid. The chimney pitch was great fun and we went up Sickle for a couple of pitches to avoid the simple snow slopes. Fun all the way.

Tommy (founder of Jottnar) is up for a few days of climbing, putting his excellent clothing to good use in the environment it was designed for. I've been enjoying wearing the gear over the last year and I find it the most comfortable gear to wear in any conditions. We are trying not to look like Tweedledum and Twedledee in matching Jottnar clothing from head to foot! 

Up on Ben Nevis the ice that is in place is good. We need more storms and thaw freeze cycles to build ice in the Minus Gullies, Orion Face. However, drainage lines and big gullies are looking good - The Curtain, Waterfall Gully, Gemini, Compression Cracks, Boomers Requiem, all the grade IV gullies in Coire na Ciste, Zero Gully, Point Five Gully, Smith's Route are complete. Mega Route X is half way there too. The ice is currently very cold and hard so make sure your picks are sharp!

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