SCNL looking white!

SCNL looking white!

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.

Getting used to gearing up in winter again...

Getting used to gearing up in winter again…

Making our way up Broad Gully

Making our way up Broad Gully

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.

Bit of digging

Bit of digging

Some navigation practise

Some navigation practise

Descending NE Ridge

Descending NE Ridge

The easy way down

The easy way down

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!

On route up Ledge Route

On route up Ledge Route

Past the short step down - busy day!

Past the short step down – busy day!

Atop Ledge Route

Atop Ledge Route

Happy mountaineers!

Happy mountaineers!

A cracking day to be out

A cracking day to be out