The winter conditions reports are kindly supported by Jöttnar
Ben Udlaidh, Friday 19th January
Kev visited Ben Udlaidh for some classic ice on Friday. Climbing with Owen and Dan they made an ascent of the brilliant IV 4, Quartzvein Scoop. The road up Glen Orchy was very snowy, 4×4 or chains recommended. They broke trail all the way, through deep snow, however the slopes around Quartzvein, Peter Pan and Captain Hook were well scoured. All three routes were in good condition.
Stob Coire Nan Lohan and Aonach Dubh West Face, Saturday 20th January
Taking a bit of a gamble with the heavy snow but promise of a good weather window on the Saturday we headed up north. An ‘interesting’ drive especially over Rannoch Moor with the snow gates open but several ‘refusals’ from vehicles in front saw us arriving late to the hut and then frustratingly slipping a wheel off the drive and stranding the car 50 yards from the front door! Rich and Ian’s early start was eaten up problem solving vehicle retrieval – successfully achieved after an hours digging, two planks, two logs, all the dog’s bedding and some ashes from the fire! Kev had already headed to the West Face of Aonach Dubh working for Abacus Mountaineering, which ultimately proved the best choice with lots of unconsolidated snow about. They climbed a nice turfy IV 5 called Cyclops, the route was well frozen with interesting moves. Another team climbed Pinnacle Face.
Rich and Ian headed up to Stob Coire Nan Lochan and had a beautiful walk but the coire was buried in deep unconsolidated snow and the gullies looked loaded. No one was climbing – good walk, bad choice for climbing.
Ben Udlaidh and Ben Dorain, Sunday 21st January
On Sunday Rich and Ian headed to Ben Dorian hoping to get on The Sting whilst Kev headed to Ben Udlaidh. Both teams were frustrated by deep snow drifts making the approaches tedious and time consuming. With the weather worsening Rich and Ian bailed as did the two other teams we saw at Ben Dorain. Kev also bailed on the approach to Ben Udlaidh due to the amount of wind blown snow and an increasing avalanche danger. Given the number of vehicles in ditches or spun, bumped and bashed on the journey home we didn’t regret our decision. Kev had a similar experience with the road at the Ski centre shut for a good while.
Not a great weekend climbing wise but the volume of snow should see some good conditions building with a few feeze thaw cycles – fingers crossed!
Coire An Sneachda, Monday 22nd January
With a thaw setting in and forecasted southwesterly winds up to 60mph, Kev’s clients decided to take a day off so he enlisted Dave Sharpe as a replacement and headed to the Cairngorms. They climbed the Coire An Sneachda V 7, The Genie. The freezing level was around the coire floor with a stern SW wind. The snow was consolidating however there still wasn’t much helpful neve around on the climb. Three good pitches followed by an abseil descent avoided a windy plateau. (2 abseils from fixed stations with 60m ropes.) Other teams were climbing on Mess of Pottage and Fiacaill Buttress.
The wintery theme is set to continue this week.
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