Posts

Brilliant day on The Overseer Direct, Cairngorms

With the forecast for the weekend not looking quite as favourable as the past week or so, Steve, Dave and I decided to make the most of the current cold and calm weather, and headed over to Coire an Lochain in the Northern Coires of the Cairngorms with an open mind.

on our way to climb the Overseer Direct, Cairngorms

A fine morning in the Cairngorms

The Overseer Diret and surrounding routes

A wintry Coire an Lochain

 

Conditions on the west have been good, but with more snow, patches of less frozen turf and bonded rocks, we thought that a change of scenery would be worthwhile, so made our way into Coire an Lochain, home to a number of steep (and less steep) mixed routes.  It was clear on the approach to the coire that no one had been in for a couple of days, and with that, many of the routes clearly hadn’t been cleared of rime and ice, so we picked The Overseer Direct, which looked less chocked up with ice and so more amenable than Deep Throat and some of the other surrounding routes for arranging protection.

Steve on pitch one of the Overseer Direct

Steve on pitch one of the Overseer Direct

The route takes in a couple of steep corners, which Steve cruised up (clearly the indoor dry tooling has paid off), before I jumped on the sharp end and climbed a slabby groove, before tackling an awkward pull onto a good ledge and a steep corner with good hooks to finish with.  Great fun!

Me on pitch two of the Overseer Direct

Me on pitch two of the Overseer Direct

Steve topping out of The Overseer Direct

Steve topping out of The Overseer Direct

Dave just after the steep final corner of The Overseer Direct

Dave just after the steep final corner

It was another stunning day in the Highlands, with views as far as the eye could see, I could get used to this.  Plenty of other folk out making the most of the conditions, with teams on a number on routes in Coire an t’Sneachda including Fiacaill Ridge, Invernookie, Fiaciall Buttress, Stirling Bomber, Finger’s Ridge, Fluted Buttress Direct, Broken Gully and The Haston Line.  Plenty of other folk out skiing, snowshoeing and generally enjoying these brilliant winter conditions.

Stunning afternoon views

Stunning afternoon views

We have a couple of thaw/freeze cycles coming up in the next week, with it cooling down again considerably towards the back end of next week, so it’s looking very promising for this early in the season.

A great day out!

A great day out!

Winter has arrived!

Storm Abigail brought with it the first substantial snowfall this season, giving the mountains their first winter coat, down to about 600m or so.  Winter has arrived in the Scottish Highlands! Quite a few folk made the most of this early season wintry snap with mixed routes having been climbed in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms over east, and on the high crags of Ben Nevis and Bidean nam Bian on the west coast.

It’s a bit warmer and wetter today, which will wash most of the recent fresh snow away, however, there is plenty of snow and a cold spell in the pipeline towards the end of the week and into the weekend.  It’s looking like a very promising start to the season!

Phil Thompson was out in the Mamores yesterday and reported:

“Yesterday we went up Stob Ban via col and then up East Ridge. I broke trail in up to 25cm of drifts. The normal summer exit from the East Ridge where it meets the summit was totally filled in so took a detour right to avoid floundering in powder ! ” 3:45hr car to car.

Mamores in winter

Early snow in the Mamores

From the East Ridge of Stob Ban

View from the East Ridge of Stob Ban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Phil for the report and photos.

Meanwhile, Han was also out, leading a group up the mountain track to the summit of Ben Nevis, for Atlas Mountaineering.  She encountered soft snow all the way, and so the group didn’t need to use crampons or an ice axe.  There was plenty of rime on the summit cairn and shelter.

If you’ve been out walking, mountaineering or climbing, then feel free to drop us an email: info@westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk with your trip report, which we can then include in our blog posts.

East and West Coast conditions

We’ve had teams in the Cairngorms, on Ben Nevis and in Glencoe, so here’s a quick round up of east and west coast conditions:

Over the weekend Chris was out climbing with Andrew and his twin brother. They climbed Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis on Saturday and 999 on Gearr Aonach, in Glencoe, on Sunday. They managed a good couple of days climbing considering all the recent fresh snow fall. Careful route choice is required at the moment. Thanks to Chris for the photos.

Tower Gap on Tower Ridge

Tower Gap on Tower Ridge

It was a very different story over east. Friday and Saturday were cold and sunny with alpine conditions. I was coaching lead climbing on route such as Hidden Chimney, Jacob’s Edge, Aladdin’s Couloir (which had a nice ice pitch on the left) and the Haston Line which was very lean so quite tricky for the grade. Sunday was a different day with heaps to talk about due to the sudden change in the conditions. Strong southerly winds with heavy snow fall meant good route choice was key to staying safe. The crags are much whiter now, due to the strong winds blowing snow and moisture about.  It will take a while for the snow in the gullies to settle down though.

Jacob was out on the first day of a Winter Mountaineering course with Steven, and they headed to Buachaille Etive Beag in Glencoe for a refresh of core winter skills.

Wintry in the Cairngorms

Wintry in the Cairngorms

Great ice in the Cairngorms

Great ice in the Cairngorms

Busy in the Northern Corries

Busy in the Northern Corries