Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Giles and Jess wanted a go at some scrambling on Ben Nevis so we went for Ledge Route. Unfortunately we saw very little in the thick mist but it was a fun day and there were glimpses of the drops all around us. There is still a good depth of snow at the foot of Number Five Gully so we scraped some steps up this with an ice axe. This snow is many metres deep still so it will be around for a few weeks yet. Generally the snow is melting fast now though and about 1.5m depth has melted off the summit in the last couple of weeks.

Ledge Route itself is clear of snow and the globe flowers near the bottom are about to bloom. There is also moss campion in flower, dwarf cudweed and many other plants we will be looking for elsewhere on the North Face Survey in August.

Up on the plateau there are plenty of large areas of snow but little on the Pony Track until you turn Gardyloo Gully. The last bit of snow on the summit might melt away in another week or two I guess. Jess, Giles and I waited for a view but none came today which was a real shame. We went down by Lochain Meall an t'Suidhe and through fields of flowering Butterwort and Milkwort over the bog before the Allt a'Mhuillin. The flowers are trying to make up for lost time after a very cold May and June.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Earlier this week we helped Fabiana and team to complete the National Three Peaks in 24 hours. This is a huge achievement and the team did a fantastic job. The walks are tough and you need to be quick on all three of them. The only recovery you have between them is sitting in a minibus for several hours!

On the way up Ben Nevis they came across someone having a medical emergency as well and they did everything they could to help him. The guys worked together very well and supported each other all the way. Well done team and thanks to Mark for looking after them through the whole thing.

Today Andy and John enjoyed the Aonach Eagach and went out to The Chancellor on the way. It stayed dry for them this morning but the rain came in later on and for the walk down.

It does seem like the weather has warmed up a bit at long last. It is still quite unsettled but the temperature is much more like it should be at this time of year.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

What a great day for an introduction to scrambling in the Cuillin on Skye. I was with Pete, Al, Justin and Tim who have done a good amount of scrambling but nothing with ropes before today. We went into Coire a'Basteir and up to the ridge where the mist was just starting to form and swirl around the peaks.

We went up Am Basteir first making fast progress up the steady scrambling, looking at securing each other without a rope. We got the rope out for the bad step and worked out how to use Italian Hitches to make it safe for everyone as we climbed down. The view of Sgurr nan Gillean appearing out of the clouds when we were on top was excellent.

Back down for a go at the West Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean gave us the perfect opportunity to practice moving together with a rope for security, Alpine style. This is the perfect technique for the Teeth near the foot of the ridge. Higher up we just walked with the rope in our hands and went back to moving together at the top as we went through the window. We also went down the SE Ridge a very short way now I know how good it is!

Going back down the West Ridge gave us another great training opportunity, abseiling down the chimney at the bottom. By this time the rain had come in so we were grateful for dry rock on both climbs and we went down the coire underneath Pinnacle Ridge for the long walk back to Sligachan.