Inside the cave in "Cave Gully" (II*), Aonach Mor.
I think that out of the four winter seasons I have spent living in Glencoe, this one is the windiest. It seems to have been there since mid-January now, really ferocious at times and the cause of complex conditions in the snow-pack.
Most of the routes that I'm eager to climb this winter are East or North-East facing, but the avalanche risk has been fairly consistently quite high on these slopes for the last 4 weeks now. I realise more and more that you have to just take things as they come in Scottish winter climbing, and being flexible around conditions is one of the most important factors in having a successful season.
Large icefalls on the West face of Aonach Beag
Approaching the cave.
Sinking ice axe picks and crampon points into hard nevé is such a satisfying feeling after almost 3 months of climbing buttress routes. My inkling that the wind would have mainly scoured the gully down to the old snow-ice was correct, and despite some (mainly avoidable) areas of fresh snow deposits the gully was in enjoyable condition.
Some great snow-ice on the route.
It's all looking pretty good at the moment. The icefalls on the West face of Aonach Beag are looking big and the North face of Ben Nevis was looking positively immense. Lots to climb!