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, 22 January 2015

Two years ago I managed to drop my ice axe from the big ice smear of Gemini. Thankfully today's ascent was a bit smoother! Another day of cold and dry weather with not too much wind brought a few ice climbers to Ben Nevis. The Curtain was popular as well as Point Five Gully, Green Gully and plenty of others. Tommy and I went for the big classic of Gemini on the side of Carn Dearg Buttress and had a great time!

The ice was solid but not brittle and there is lots of it. The first pitch is as steep as usual but the big smear higher up is quite friendly at the moment. There are blobs of ice on the mixed pitches and the twin grooves provide a spicy finish! Always a memorable experience.

Over the next few days we will get some rapid thaw freeze cycles as waves of warm air wash over us in quick succession. The current snow will consolidate and fresh snow will drift into sheltered areas and cascade down the gullies. There could be quite a bit of spindrift on Saturday so buttress routes might be the best option.

It has been fantastic climbing with Tommy and great for him to spend some more time doing what inspired him to create Jottnar. It is outstanding gear and perfect for the challenging weather we will get over the next few days!

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