Back up to Scotland this week for some winter climbing, - excellent snow and ice conditions but with 'normal' Scottish weather - windy and unsettled ! The thaw and rain last week helped the snow to consolidate and, with this weeks cold conditions, resulted in some good conditions.
Saturday Ledge Route and No. 4 Gully on Ben Nevis with 50+ m.p.h wind then off to the Cairngorms and Glenmore Lodge for the 'Association of Mountaineering Instructors' A.G.M. Sunday was an excellent day in the Northern Corries with climbs on 'Ewan Buttress' and 'Astroturfer' - both graded III, but quite different - Ewan buttress was a delightful little route with some lovely positions but very little technical difficulty, Astroturfer giving much more of a test of balance cutting diagonally across a buttress. Monday back at Ben Nevis and with an early start allowed Hadrian's Wall Direct, Green Gully and West Gully Douglas Boulder to be climbed. Hadrian's Wall gave the biggest challenge with very brittle ice allowing no respite for aching calf muscles. Tuesday was a return to Ben Nevis in poorer conditions - strong wind on top and snow beginning to fall - South West Ridge on the Douglas Boulder was an excellent little route, full of interest but without too much stress - the steep snow slope approach giving more concern ! Finished off the trip with some ice bouldering at the base of Coire na Ciste - with snow falling heavily on Wednesday and more forecast it was time to head home before the roads became impassable - it wouldn't be the first time I got stuck the wrong side of the snow gates !