Ben Nevis, Lochan and Aonach Mor 15-02-12

After a weekends mountaineering course in the Lake District, which still had plenty of snow about despite warmer temperatures, I headed north to the Fortwilliam area.

Helvellyn at the Weekend

Running an Intro to Snow and Ice course this week, we have so far had 3 great days out.  We had a skills day in Lochan on Monday when we finished with a climb up Forked Gully.  The crags were very black but all the easier gullys seemed good.  Routes climbed were Boomerang Gully, Dorsal Arete, NC Gully, Twisting Gully amongst others..

 Teams below Dorsal Arete
 Lochan looking a bit black
 Forked Gully
Good views North West

Tuesday we went to the Ben.  The ice up high was good, Smiths, Hadrians, Indicator Wall, Green Gully, Thompsons, the Cascades all looked good as well as many others.  However the lower ice routes were much thinner, Central was one which a couple of teams abbed off.

 Routes in No.3 Gully area, Wendigo, Central L and R looking OK.
 The Cascades
The Comb across to No.3 Gully Buttress

Today took us to Aonach Mor.  There was still plenty of good ice about.  White Shark looked good and was climbed.  We did Tunnel Vision which was great, first time placements all the way, the cornice was passable on the right above Morwind.  Rob Wills did Forgotten Twin and said it was good also.

 Abb into Easy Gully
 Tunnel Vision
Cornices above the left branch of Tunnel Vision

Generally fairly warm here so easy angled mixed routes up high are looking OK, but lower down and steep routes are black.  High snow and ice routes are good though, still plenty in.  Looks like things are set to cool however towards the weekend with some snow.  The forecast has suggested the freeze line to be hovering around 900m, though its felt warmer with some drizzle on the summits, will be looking good for the ice after another freeze.