A very cold air-stream has brought a further return to winter over the hills of Scotland and especially Ben Nevis; which is where David and I went hunting classic grade III ice climbing. There were plenty of others with similar ideas, it looked like three or four teams were on Orion Direct, two on point Five, a team of three on Observatory Buttress, two up on Smiths Route and at least one team on Tower Ridge. Further parties were heading for the Ciste, so David and I bypassed them all and went for Tower Scoop (III) and Good Friday Climb (III), both were in excellent condition with fat, chewy blue ice just perfect for axes and screws alike. It was very cold up high, the Northerly wind making things very bitter on the summit. We only experienced the smallest of snow showers and were rewarded with spectacular views on the walk down the Red Burn. Just when I thought winter was over!….. I’ve been working for Abacus Mountain Guides.

The new Blue Ice Warthog packed for a days winter work

The new Blue Ice Warthog packed for a days winter work

Great conditions

Great conditions

Tower Scoop

Tower Scoop

Team on Tower Ridge

Team on Tower Ridge

All smiles!

All smiles!

Good Friday

Good Friday

Top of Good Friday!

Top of Good Friday!