An impressive amount of snow has fallen on the Western Highlands in the last 24 hours. Considering the amount of fresh unconsolidated snow I forget any ideas of climbing anything today and went for a photography trip to the North face of Ben Nevis instead.
Heavy snowfall at all levels
Without any doubt, I've never seen so much snow so low down before on the walk-in to the North face. There was about 8 to 12 inches of level fall even in the woods just above the carpark, and from the top fence onwards the snow was approaching two feet deep in many places.
Thankfully a team ahead of me had dug a trench all the way up to the CIC hut, which must have been exhausting work. It was an absolutely beautiful place to be today with all the pristine new snow.
A cornice next to the CIC hut!
The Castle and Castle Ridge
Things look to be shaping up very nicely indeed in terms of climbing conditions, in the long run at least. There's enough snow around so that hopefully it'll survive the thaw forecast thursday and firm up very nicely at the end of the week. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of ice around, routes like The Shroud, Mega Route X and Gemini beginning to form.
If things play out the way the forecast suggests, there could potentially be some absolutely cracking climbing conditions on the Ben in a few days. Those who had manage to wade through the drifts today were climbing on steep mixed routes like Cutlass on the Douglas Boulder so there's definitely lots of climbing to be had right now, especially higher-grade mixed.