Thursday, 26 January 2012

Great atmosphere on the Ben (posted by James)

Climbers on Tower Ridge, dwarfed by the North East Buttress

My prayers were answered last night when yesterday's incessant rain turned to snow as the temperature dropped overnight. The thaw yesterday was severe to say the least, but much of the damage has been quickly undone…and the old snow is starting to consolidate quickly.

I backed off my route of choice today as the crux wasn't in condition, so I took a wander around with my camera instead.

Climbing teams beneath The Trident Buttresses

The Ben was an amazing place to be this morning. Billowing cloud coming in and out of the corries, spindrift blowing all over the place and fresh snow falling. And there were lots of people out climbing too, so every so often a shout or call would come at you through the mist, echoing off the cliffs.

Small soft cornices have been forming at the tops of the gullies again, and those above the Creag Coire na Ciste gullies look pretty menacing.

Carn Dearg Buttress and The Castle

Until things settle down the easier gullies are probably not wise places to be, with evidence of slides already there. For anyone intending to approach Ledge Route via the top of Moonlight Gully Buttress, be aware there is now a steep snow-lip about 6 feet deep that you'd have to get down in order to get into Number 5 Gully.

Tower Ridge

All the ridges and buttresses have got a healthy covering of snow, though all the new powder might make things a bit hard going. There were teams on Tower Ridge and Ledge Route at least, I didn't see anyone on Castle Ridge and I couldn't tell whether North East Buttress had any teams on or not.

Approaching Ledge Route

I don't know, but I'd imagine the higher ice routes are shaping up nicely. "The White Line" area of Raeburn's Wall looked promising, but due to cloud I couldn't see the Orion Face or Indicator Wall.

After I'd spent a while taking photos I started the walk down, and watched a fairly massive spindrift avalanche come from the top of Carn Dearg Buttress and sweep down the line of The Shroud. Scary stuff…fingers crossed everyone has kept safe on The Ben today.

A large spindrift avalanche coming down "The Shroud"

Oh....and check out the weather forecast for tomorrow!!


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