Scotland – West Coast Update 04-01-13

The thaw that has set in across Scotland has stripped a lot of snow from the hills.  The West has been damper than the East meaning the snow conditions are better over East, however there are only limited steeper routes possible, its mainly the easy gullies.  Apart from some snow cover most of the regular West coast venues are very thin on ice and the rock is damp and black.  The main exception to this is on the Ben, the Observatory Gully ice routes in particular are holding out.  I am currently working on the West and today we climbed Tower Scoop and Tower Gully with a descent down No.4.  Various routes (that I could see through the clag) still looked complete.  Smiths Route, Tower Scoop, Tower Cascades right and left, and possibly Indicator Wall (or something near it) were all complete.  There is still ice in Point 5 and on Hadrians Wall, but there were also large holes/thin sections.  In the Ciste there didn’t seem to be as much, left Central is complete, North Gully and possibly Green Gully also (?).  There is most likely other routes looking OK also but the visibility was poor so I’m not sure.  All  the routes will need a freeze to make them safe really, there was a lot of water running and it was very humid today.  Tower Scoop had good ice and was just passable without feeling too unstable, but I’d guess that most of the other routes I saw would be too wet/unstable currently to climb.  Looks as though a freeze might be a bit off yet so hopefully some of this will survive…

Tower Ridge and Ledge Route looked to still be holding reasonable snow cover also.

Tower Scoop