#backtowork today, fortunately, I quite enjoy my office, Ben Nevis. Today, I had the pleasure of introducing my office to Ben, who is preparing for a trip to Ecuador. Following the recent thaws, it was quite apparent on the walk-in that Ben Nevis, as reliable as ever, was making a speedy recovery, with freezing levels down to 750m or so, a dusting of fresh snow and plenty of rime on the higher crags.
Ben had just finished a winter mountaineering course in the NW Highlands, with Martin Moran (who I was working for today), and was keen to get some additional mileage in, ideally on consolidated, firm snow, which hasn’t been particularly forthcoming this season so far. Fortunately, the recent cold conditions on Ben Nevis had really firmed up the snow in Coire na Ciste, giving us the perfect snow to practice cramponning on. We went in with a reasonably open mind, as Ben was slightly overwhelmed by the scale of the north face cliffs, but he soon found himself enjoying the steepish snow slopes leading up to the mouth of No. 3 Gully. The snow within the gully was a bit more chopped up, and so easier to kick steps into, and Ben needed very little encouragement to press on to complete the gully, and in doing so, climbed his first route on the Ben. Good going! Happy with what he had achieved, we took a leisurely wander down the mountain track.
Plenty of the higher routes on Ben Nevis are shaping up well, with plenty of rime on the high cliffs, so the mixed routes are looking great and the ice in the higher drainage lines are forming nicely. Quite a few folk making the most of the cold, dry conditions, with ascents of Tower Scoop, Good Friday Climb, Tower Ridge, No. 2 Gully, Green Gully, No. 3 Gully Buttress, Archangel and North Gully.