I have been busy since returning  from the Cairngorms last week. This weekends work included an ascent of Ben Nevis with Zane and Nicola via the main path, proceedings were brought to an abrupt halt when Nicola twisted her ankle before the the metal bridge – an early finish and consolation drinks were in order!

Mark enjoying his first proper winter outing

Mark enjoying his first proper winter outing

Yesterday I was out with Mark for his first taste of the North Face of Ben Nevis. Being a fit and keen outdoor’sy person, we covered basics swiftly before working our way up Ledge Route (II). It rained on and off all day at all levels, the few climbers knocking around the corries reflected this. The route itself is banked out with snow, including the initial slab which is a snow plod at the moment. Prior to all of this whilst taking a break at the CIC hut, we heard screams as a climber plunged the length of the first pitch of The Curtain. I was sure he was going to hit the deck but possibly escaped with a few broken ribs – a lucky guy!

Mark enjoying Ledge Route

Mark enjoying Ledge Route

I recently had an unusual enquiry about night navigation and the possibility of teaching a few tactics for getting off a mountain in the dark. So tonight I met up with Bill and his son Dillan who are experienced climbers but were concerned about their lack of confidence if they become benighted. I suggested an early evening/night navigation session in Glen Nevis where we soon got to grips with map and compass by wandering around Coire Riabhach and Mullach nan Coirean. I really enjoyed this escape from the norm relishing a chance to teach some solid skills to help these guys feel more confident about topping out in the dark. Lots of snow around tonight, some interesting driving to get out of the Glen.

Snow is falling at sea level in Fort William, temperatures have also dropped to around -6 @ 900m. Tomorrow – Ben Nevis……….