Thursday, 26 February 2009
Wet weather on the Ben
Today Isi and I went up to Ben Nevis to see if anything was in condition on the North Face. Initially the weather was not promising, with driving rain in Glencoe, and it did not improve considerably on the walk-in. The face was clagged to coire level and the rain didn't really let up until the afternoon.
From what little we could see, there wasn't a lot of snow around. Through gaps in the hill fog we could see that Castle Ridge was entirely bare (and streaming with water), as was the Douglas Boulder. A fleeting view of the North East Buttress suggested that was almost entirely black as well. Hardly any snow in the Castle Gullies. We couldn't see far into Coire na Ciste, but given how mild and wet it was at the CIC hut we didn't hold much hope for anything to be in acceptable condition. What little snow remained at CIC hut level was saturated.
Soaking wet and disinclined to swim up an avalanche-prone gully or scramble the Ledge Route in the rain, we followed the line of depressed-looking climbers retreating from the face, and went to the Grog and Gruel for a whisky instead!