First things first, Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you all enjoyed yourselves whatever you did. Fortunately not working on the 1st meant a nice night out with friends to see the New Year in.
I was back to work yesterday, and out with Darren and Jackie, who were looking to develop their winter mountaineering skills with a trip up Mont Blanc on the cards for later in the year. With a favourable forecast, we decided to head up to Coire na Ciste on Ben Nevis, where we focused on movement skills, before making an ascent of No. 3 Gully, which was in very friendly condition, with no cornice at the top. We then made our way over the plateau and down No. 4 Gully, which again lacked a cornice.
Steve was also out working for West Coast Mountain Guides. He was out with Kieran and Richard, they had a productive day on the other side of Tower Ridge, in Tower Gully.
Many folk out yesterday, but unfortunately it’s rather slim pickings at the moment with the lack of snow and ice. Teams on Tower Gully, Tower Ridge, Gardyloo Gully (reported to be about grade IV and requires ice screws at the moment), No. 2 Gully, No. 3 Gully Buttress, one team backed off a very lean Thompson’s Route, Hobgoblin and multiple teams in No 3 Gully.
Today, I was out with Gareth, Mike and Matt for the start of their Winter Mountaineering Course. With a slightly less than ideal forecast, but with another thaw due for later in the week, we decided to go for something in Glencoe, as nothing there (apart from Board Gully) is likely to survive another thaw. It turns out that we may already have been one or two days late, but after recapping on movement skills, and bringing some these movement drills and skills to their conscientiousness, rather than doing things without realising, we made for NC Gully, where the effects of the thaw are making themselves known. The lads led where suitable, but I took over for the more exposed rocky steps. We finished off by descending Broad Gully, which is complete. Some more unsettled weather next week, which fingers crossed, brings with it some well needed snow.
Scott was out with Darren and Jackie, they enjoyed a productive day covering further winter mountaineering skills around the Nid area of Aonach Mor. Good luck with Mont Blanc you two!