I have just finished two great days working for Abacus Mountain Guides. Phil had completed two Jonathan Conville courses previously but wanted to refresh his skills before getting out into the hills independently. Nick was new to the game, ready to learn as much as he could and keen for anything as long as it included snow.
Yesterday we went to Glencoe, walked up into Stob Coire nan Lochan and looked at basic movement skills, using crampons / ice axe and improved personal winter admin. When you don’t get into the hills much in winter it is these key basics that make all the difference to how the day goes. Simple tasks such as taking crampons on and off with big gloves on can be tedious but also so important to get practice doing so. We made steady progress toward Broad Gully so decided to climb it, digging hasty pitts and discussing avalanche awareness on route. We found very little in the way of instabilities, plenty of snow but couldn’t get much to budge with our tests. Mike was teaching leading on Dorsal Arete, other teams climbed Raeburns & Twisting Grooves. We descending a very snowy NE Ridge.
As neither Phil or Nick had stood ontop of Ben Nevis we made a plan to go there today, using Ledge Route as our choice of ascent. It was soon clear we were in for a sociable day as Max was there with his client as were four other teams from Jagged Globe and Glenmore Lodge. Everyone just about managed to keep moving, using shorter pitches where required and moving together to leap frog in-front of each other. Thankfully Phil and Nick are fit so we managed to be first across the ‘Ledge’ and onto simpler ground. It was one of those spectacular days with sublime skies and not a breath of wind, just lots of snow to play around in – superb!