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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Great snow ice climbing conditions with powder on the ski runs

Lots of fresh snow over the past few days proved tiresome on the walk in but at least we had several large "Lodge" groups ahead of us breaking trail ;-)It was forecast to clear today with the winds dropping in the afternoon. We missed it if it did - visibility was generaly poor and it was bitterly cold in the strong north westerlies. The good news is that the winds have done a great job of scouring some of the exposed north west facing climbs and building up thick rime ice.
We headed for the Mess of Pottage which had deep but supportive snow on the approach and crag apron and up to the huge wind scoop at the start of a banked out Jacob's Ladder (several metres of fresh snow on the right).

Our original objective had a queue but Jacob's Ladder was empty so we headed on up being very wary of any potential windslab and cornices in the gloom above. We needn't have worried as apart from the start the climbing was on magical rimed polystyrene snow ice with no cornices to worry about. Great climbing though it was bitterly cold and everything was freezing up making even the simplest of tasks frustrating - full on winter conditions for a nice change - Nick and James loved it!
Cover on the plateau (as far as we could see) ranged from wind scoured icy rimed rocks, hard neve and deep drifts of windpack. We returned via Coire Cas which had good deep powder for skiing on the Fiacaill ridge side.
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