Over the last week we've had an amazing fall of snow. At sea level it's been good weather to stay indoors for the festive feast; heavy rain, strong wind and rapidly changing temperatures. For much of the time snow has been accumulating in gullies and on slopes sheltered from the strong SW wind. Now, we have very deep snow in many places above 700m. I went to Coire na Ciste with Louise and Wendy for a wee look.
Ice has been forming quite quickly. The Shroud has a respectable size icicle hanging down the crux overhanging wall, Gemini is shaping up as is Mega Route X and even The Shield Direct is looking a bit icy. However I think much of this ice will not be much fun to climb. With so much snow blowing around and without very cold temperatures I think it might be quite soft ice. Certainly the thaw yesterday seems to have affected the ice I could see quite a lot which makes me think it is not solid water ice. However, I did not get to any of it to climb. The Orion and Minus Faces are plastered as well as the face under the First Platform. I don't think it will be much fun climbing anything up there yet though.
Up in the coires I could not see anything, it all looks very white though. There is avalanche debris under the Castle Gullies that came right down towards the path from the half way lochain. There is also avalanche debris under Number Five Gully down into the bottom part of the coire. This is not surprising with the volume of snow we've had and the changing temperatures. The weather is not set to change much in the next week so we should all expect some very difficult conditions for a while yet. Buttresses and ridges are a good idea for the next wee while.