In the last few weeks winter weather seems to have started dominating news feeds more than it’s been dominating my blog! The so called ‘beast from the east’ has been making waves along the length of the UK. Tales of deep and havoc-wreaking snow in London only topped by mountains of drifting snow in Falmouth. Ironically the only place that didn’t see any significant snowfall was the West Highlands, which has been wind blasted but in no way freshly snow plastered.
With stable slopes and rumours of icy walls abound we headed up to the Ben. Dan’s first visit to the north face too. After a late start we climbed Harold Reaburn’s pioneering classic Green Gully (IV,3). A slow party in-front of us in the narrows slowed us enough to banish ideas of a second route so down we went stopping only a MacDonalds for a belly full of chicken nuggets.
|Dan seconding the lower icy runnel of Green Gully IV,3|
|Typically Scottish conditions just below the top of Green Gully. Dan waiting on one of the many ice screw belays. Solid!|
The next day the beast sailed off and in its wake exhaled a final warm breath, marking the end of the continental style ice climbing we’d all come to enjoy. In slightly damp conditions we climbed South Gully of the Black Wall (IV,4) up at Beinn Udlaidh, which was a great route, aside from the slightly harrowing sugar soft cornice.
|Ice ice ice ice. Beinn Udlaidh looking like a dream|
|Looking up the first pitch of a banked out South Gully of the Black Wall IV,4|
|The crux icefall on South Gully of the Back Wall IV,4|