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Thursday, 6 November 2008

Black buttresses but still ski touring on the plateau

Since Sunday the temperatures have risen gradually above the summits and by Tuesday ALL of the rime ice had stripped from the steeper buttresses leaving just the larger ledges, gullies and approach slopes snow covered.
Over the past few days there has been a temperature inversion with a good overnight frosts in the valleys but warmer temperatures on the tops. This has caught a few "Winter" climbers out as the ground has been frozen on the walk in but soft and thawing on the higher routes.
On Wednesday there were a handfull of winter climbers about when we walked in for some alpine style "Summer" rock climbing with a snowy approach.
Having said all that there's still reasonable snow cover and some thick hollow detached ice in the corries. There's some great winter hill walking condition for ice axe and crampon practise and really good extensive snow cover on the Cairngorm plateau - in fact still good enough for ski touring by a lone ski mountaineer over towards Ben MacDui on Wednesday.
Over on Braeriach and in the Lairg Ghru some of the east facing gullies looked to be complete and if they survive the next few day could be good sport once the temperatures drop this weekend or early next week. I'll post a few photos later this afternoon.
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