Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Wet and windy on Stob Coire nan Lochan

Another poor-forecast day today. Maz and her friend Pete had been wanting to climb Bidean, so we set off up the Coire nan Lochan approach with a hopeful attitude, despite the persistent drizzle and occasional gusts of wind. We made good time up into the coire floor, at which point we decided to pop on crampons and debate which way to go up.

In the end we climbed the West Ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan. The snow quality was not good underfoot, with a thawing, sugary layer, but there was no avalanche risk whatsoever on our route and the snow appeared to be generally very well-bonded. Cornices overhung all of the gullies although some of them have already collapsed.

Two brave souls were battling their way up Dorsal Arete in the rain and high winds, although it looked pretty unpleasant to me with a lot of wet rock! Broad Gully looked like it may well have been okay, although we decided not to risk going down there. The other gullies all looked decidedly grim and there was avalanche debris at the bottom of Forked Gully (this may have been old; I didn't look at it closely).

We topped out to disgusting conditions: mild, windy, raining buckets. At this stage we desperately need some good weather and a refreeze to salvage some more winter out of the season.

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