Blog Posts in Category: Winter Climbing

Hidden Chimney

It has been a few years since we winter climbed in Scotland, mostly due to injuries and conditions. This year we decided we wanted to get back into it, but unfortunately conditions were making it difficult. The option with the safest approach seems to be the Mess of Pottage at Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. We decided to climb hidden chimney again as a suitable re-introduction to Scottish winter, unfortunately so did a large number of other people. The walk in was surprisingly easy given how much snow was on the ground, and by the time we had arrived in the coire the cloud had lifted and showed us an excellent view of the crag, and the army of climbers in front of us. Thankfully not many teams had already approached Hidden Chimney. We started the route behind out friends James and Jon and had a very enjoyable climb. It wasn’t too cold and the conditions on the climb were excellent, and very different to last time we climbed the route. There was some very poor crag etiquette going on with a team climbing over us and the team. Read the full article…

Aonach Eagach

With an excellent forecast, combined with the outstanding late season conditions we decided to head up to Scotland to climb Aonach Eagach. Aonach Eagach is a ridge which I have done before in summer and winter, however it has been on Becky’s list for quite some time now. When I last climbed the ridge in winter the weather was very good, but it did not compare to the weather we had this time. The snow underfoot was mostly firm, the ridge generally had a good covering of snow other than some of the steeper rock sections and the weather was outstanding with a mixture of sun and cloud all day, without a breath of wind. We made the most of the clocks having changed and the longer daylight and enjoyed a relatively late start to miss the bad weather early in the morning, which was a good decision based on the amount of rain as we were driving towards the ridge. The initial climb doesn’t get any easier with successive attempts at the ridge, and felt as abrupt as ever, but thankfully it is over fairly quickly and once it. Read the full article…

Deep South Gully & Beinn Alligin

The whole country seemed to have forecasts for heavy snow, apart from the small part of north west Scotland around Torridon. Despite the lack of a forecast for snow, the forecast did remain bitterly cold with temperatures of -10 being forecast on the summits, with easterly winds which were gusting up to 50mph and a “feels like” temperature of -30 according to the Met Office. Due to this we developed the plan to walk around to the back of Beinn Alligin and climb the atmospheric looking Deep South Gully as the descent off the back is quick, which should have limited our exposure to the strong winds. We made quick progress around to the back of Beinn Alligin, and despite forgetting the guidebook, easily identified the gully. There was bomber neve all the way up the gully, which extended down to the valley floor. This enabled us to make rapid progress up the gully, which was fantastic. It was very atmospheric inside the deep sided valley, which combined with the snow quality made for a very enjoyable climb. We were surprised when we got to the top to find that. Read the full article…

SW & E Ridge of the Douglas Boulder, Ben Nevis

With an excellent forecast George and I planned to go to Ben Nevis with the aim of climbing Observatory Ridge. The walk in was beautiful with a clear sky, views of a snowy mountain and a beautiful view back down into the valley. Unfortunately due to the lack of winter so far this year, while Ben Nevis was covered in snow it was lacking in ice which is what lead us to attempting a ridge route. Unfortunately while we were approaching observatory ridge it became clear that the snow was very unconsolidated with no base at all. I set off on the first pitch and quickly decided that we were going to have a long and unpleasant day if we continued, so made the unpleasant unprotected down climb back to the belay. We then decided to head for plan B which was the classic south west ridge of the Douglas boulder. This provided three pitches of excellent mixed climbing, with good hooks, reasonable snow, excellent protection and enjoyable climbing. George led the first pitch which was the crux of the route with an enjoyable technical traverse, the second pitch was more straightforward. Read the full article…