Saturday, 26 November 2011

Winter again for a day (posted by James)

Bidean nam Bian yesterday

One of the things I find most exciting about this time of year is waking up in the morning, opening the curtain and seeing a fresh snow-fall on the mountains. So I started the day with a smile yesterday when I woke to find snow down to 500m in Glencoe.

Pinnacle Buttress, Coire nan Lochan

The freezing level wasn't as low as had been forecast, leaving options for climbing limited, but I definitely wanted to get out and take a look at the snow. I'd woken late and didn't get on the hill until 11am, so Ben Nevis was out of the question.

Instead I just did a quick blast up Stob Coire nan Lochan, climbing a direct start to Dorsal Arete at about Grade III on the way. Dorsal was lean but acceptably wintery - but the strong winds had meant snow was distributed very unevenly in the corrie, the west side seeing the most accumulation.

Starting up a direct start to Dorsal Arete

Conditions were very "Scottish" on the summit and ridges…i.e fairly brutal. I was knocked over by the wind on a few occasions and got caught in several sudden squalls and white-outs. But I was loving it…it felt good to be in the middle of some proper Scottish winter suffering again!

A squall breaking over the Aonach Eagach

Unfortunately I think all the snow is probably gone by now. Torrential rain and about 12 degrees in Lochaber today. So winter only for a day…but if the weather forecasts are correct, it'll soon be back.


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