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.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Just to mix things up a bit, Tommy and I went mixed climbing today. Tommy is a very good ice climber but has done little mixed climbing before so we went to Buachaille Etive Mor to climb Shelf Route. I have done this climb a few times over the last three or four years and for good reason. It has punchy mixed sections with simple snow slopes in between and very comfortable belays on the first three pitches. The fourth pitch has a great move near the start and then more sustained climbing to the crest of Crowberry Ridge. You then get to climb Crowberry Tower before reaching the summit.

We saw nobody else climbing. Curved Ridge was covered in snow with no boot trail, as was North Buttress. Crowberry Gully was very full of snow but it will be very deep soft snow. Ravens Gully was the same, very well filled in but with soft snow.

At the top of Crowberry Tower we were treated to some outstanding views. With mist down below us and bright sunshine above we had the best brochenspectres I've ever seen. Crisp colours in the rainbow circles and our shadows so clear we could make out individual limbs.

The temperature at sea has hardly risen above zero in the glens for the last few days and it is very cold on top. Cold and calm again tomorrow, a wee thaw freeze on Friday, a good day on Saturday and a poor day on Sunday coming up by the look of it.

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