Scottish Winter conditions report 04/02/16


So the last few days I have been out in the East, West and finally the NW today. A fair few things are beginning to look in good condition, a lot more so than of late after the recent, hefty thaws.

On Tuesday I was out with John Crook observing Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountaineering. He had a regular, strong client and we went and climbed ‘D Gully Buttress’ on Buachille Etive Mor. The forecast for the day was 70+mph winds and rising temperatures. I didn’t hold out much hope of finding good winter conditions and a sheltered enough spot to climb reasonably, however our route on the Buachille was well sheltered from the strong South Westerly winds and despite the low altitude of our route it was in good winter condition, so a good day was had by all.


Mike Pescod on the crux wall of D Gully Buttress

From the summit we descended to the South West on good and firm wind-scoured slopes.


Wednesday saw myself and John Crook on a mission into the Loch Avon basin to check out an abseil approach into routes on Hell’s Lum and then onto Route Major on Carn Etchachan.

Hell’s Lum itself is shaping up nicely with a fair bit of ice forming. The cornice is small at the mo and the slopes above the crag were scoured and stable a couple of days ago. Routes like The Chancer and other classic lines are forming, but will need a little while yet until climbable.

Across under The Shelter Stone and the harder lines (Citadel and The Needle) looked to be lacking useable ice however Sticil Face appeared in reasonable condition.


John Crook traversing towards the Shelter Stone



Looking up towards Sticil Face

Route Major itself was in good condition with good snow coverage and frozen turf throughout. The upper section was a little cruddy in places but overall in pretty good nic.


John Crook high up on Route Major

Finally, today I was in then NW working for Martin Moran. We climbed George on Liathach and despite the fast-setting in thaw found good conditions throughout if a little damp on the descent down the south side. There is a lot of ice forming here, however by the time we left it was raining at all levels. A good freeze soon will help massively!



Liatach. Poacher’s, Umbrella Falls and Salmon Leap complete but thin. Might take a little while yet…


Happy clients on George

All in all a great few days out and about!






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