If you were in Fort William today, you would have spent most of the day under a grey sky, however, it was a very different world up on Ben Nevis today. The day did start off quite clear, but soon, the clouds rolled in, filling the glens, however, Ricky and I, along with almost everyone else on Ben Nevis today managed to remain above the clouds for much of the day and enjoyed yet another day of sunshine and views for miles around, although today very few peaks were poking through the thick band of cloud.
We climbed Tower Ridge in little more than softshells and a base layer. The route has lost a lot of snow over the past week, but what is left, which is still significant, is bullet hard in places, and crampons were worn throughout. The exit from Douglas Gap, most of the steeper steps on the Little Tower and Tower Gap were largely dry.
We had good views of climbers in Observatory Gully, Hadrian’s Wall, Smith’s and Tower Scoop were seeing a fair bit of traffic, Indicator Wall had one team on it, who were linking up the normal start with the second pitch of the R/H variation. A team were on the second pitch of Point 5 Gully, but were seen retreating a little while later. Tower Gully is steep at the top, but is being used in both ascent and descent, although care required, as a slip here would be bad news.
In Coire na Ciste, Tim was out with Martin. They climbed Green Gully, and reported good conditions and no crowds either. A team were in Glover’s Chimney, and seemed to be bombarded occasionally with falling ice.
Hannah and Steve were also enjoying being above the clouds with their group of 10 on the Carn Mor Dearg Arete. The crest is fairly bare of snow now, and the group didn’t need to use crampons until the final slopes up to the summit of Ben Nevis, which is now a meter higher, and stands at 1345m due to a recalculation carried out by Ordnance Survey.
Finally, Mark was out delivering a day of crevasse rescue and expedition skills to James and Rosy. They were on Stob Coire nan Lochan today.
I’m off for our second CIC Hut Week tomorrow, fortunately things are looking to turn a bit more wintry, so it’s looking like a promising week ahead. I’ll not blog through the week, but will post regular updates on our Facebook page.