Thursday, 14 January 2010
Today James and I went to the Buachaille to climb Curved Ridge. This time there was no question that we started early enough; indeed we made excellent time, until that is we came to the foot of the ridge and uncertainty struck over the correct way to follow. I have climbed Curved Ridge in summer several times and know the way to get up to it very well, but in winter in dense hill-fog and under a blanket of snow it is a different matter, particularly when there is no trail to follow.
No matter. Another group came up behind as we were gearing up, and they pointed us in the right direction. Unfortunately conditions underfoot were very poor. The ice pitch at the start of Curved Ridge was very soggy indeed, with water welling up from pick placements.
Upon starting the ridge proper, it soon turned out that the ridge had a very poor covering of snow, and what snow there was proved to be loose and thawing! In the face of very poor conditions, we decided the honourable thing to do would be to turn around. Turf was frozen, but we wondered how long it would last since mostly everything else was rather damp.
So another ignoble failure, but at least this time it was an act of God and nobody's fault!