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, 4 June 2015

Billy Connolly said "There are two seasons in Scotland, June and Winter". Well let's hope that's the case because May certainly did not feel very summery at all. On Tuesday, with fresh snow down to 700m on Ben Nevis and about 30cm of it in most places I went for a look at some ice climbing. This was 2nd June! Unfortunately it had gone just a bit too warm and wet with rain at 1000m for us to be happy to give it a go. The fresh snow was wet and heavy and there was plenty of recent, large avalanche activity evident under Number Five Gully, Number Four Gully and Observatory Gully. Still, it was worth a go just for the craic. How often do get a chance to go ice climbing in Scotland in June?

Yesterday gave us a wee respite with a ridge of high pressure floating over Scotland. I met up with Sandy and Bryan in Glen Brittle to have a go at their remaining Cuillin Munro Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. This is a wonderful peak sitting at the head of Coire Laggan, surrounded by Alpine scale faces and ridges of clean rock. Walking in to Coire Laggan just to soak up the atmosphere is a great experience that is recommended to everyone, whether or not you go any further up towards the main ridge line.

Getting to the main ridge line involves the An Stac screes. This is a large area of particularly mobile scree which saps the energy of your legs in ascent. We found a quite reasonable line up to the left of the screes by traversing hard under the buttresses and avoiding just about all the loose scree.

Up on the ridge it was cold and there was a little recent snow still melting away. The rocks were mostly grippy but the mist came in and the snow melt made them quite wet so the last hundred metres or so to the summit were made all the more tricky. Along with some of the most exposed scrambling in the UK it was quite a test. Bryan and Sandy did a great job though and we made it to tick off the last of the Skye Cuillin for them both. Well done and good luck with the rest of the Munros, hopefully in warmer weather to come.

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