I was back out with Gareth, Mike and Matt, and for day two, we thought that we should make the most of the great weather and go high on Ben Nevis. Unfortunately, with the current conditions, this didn’t give us many options, so on arriving into Coire na Ciste, we decided to go for No. 2 Gully. The snow on the approach had morphed into firm névé, giving the lads a great opportunity to really put their footwork to the test up to the gully.
With a number of teams in the area, I guided the lads up the gully, but en-route, we were able to look at a variety of belays, made somewhat slightly limited with the amount of ice in the cracks. The trio enjoyed the climbing, which in current conditions was more involved than normal, but found the continual front-pointing hard work on their calves. So a great intro to ice climbing then!
We topped out into the sunshine, before making our way over to No. 4 Gully and descending that, which again, is a lot less forgiving then it was a couple of days ago. Other teams making the most of the weather by making ascents of Gargoyle Wall, which looked a bit black lower down, North Gully (delicate first pitch), No. 3 Gully and I bumped into Jamie and Mo as we were walking out, who had climbed NE Buttress, and reported ok conditions throughout, so good going on their part to stick their noses in it and succeed. Sometimes, that’s exactly what it takes!
The mid-range synoptic charts are showing a bunching of the isobars over the UK and cool conditions as the middle of the month approaches, which will hopefully give us the stormy weather and heavy snow that we’re needing right now… Fingers crossed!