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Saturday, 29 November 2008

Very Cold and Frosty






It's been very cold and frosty since Thursday which has firmed up the limited remaining old snow in the Northern Corries and has frozen any water seepage lines at the base of the cliffs and in the gullies. Unfortunately the cliffs had not rimed up on Friday and the higher you climbed the blacker and drier the rock became - good for rock climbing though and to be honest that's what some of the winter routes being done were...! There's now plenty of rock hard neve on the plateau so winter walking should be easy into your selected rock or ice climb - I'd leave the skis behind though...!
Very few easy routes were in good winter condition with the gullies being a mix of water ice, verglassed rock and patches of old snow. The harder mixed routes on the Mess of Pottage were black apart from the initial verglassed approach though we found a steep, slightly iced chimney line and finished up Jacob's Edge on frozen grass! The steeper lines further left were bone dry rock after the 1st pitch and even the upper part of The Slant and Hidden Chimney were completely bare dry rock.
The Trident area looked best for complete easier winter lines and were being climbed on ribbons of good snow ice and water iced runnels - hence the name..! There's a lot of thin water ice about on drainage lines. Similar types of routes on southerly aspects should be building up over this continuing period of subzero temperatures. All they need is a supply of water from the sun melting the snow above the cliffs -hint hint...! On the other side of the corrie the Fiacaill area looked slightly whiter with the Seam and Invernookie being climbed.
Over in Coire an Lochain despite being higher the cliffs were just as black though with more areas of old snow and with the Couloir looking almost complete. A few teams out climbing Ewan Buttress and Deep Throat.
One of the benefits of the limited snow cover is the wet ground is really starting to freeze up well and any loose blocks are being cemented in place by the water ice. Hopefully after the forecast snowfall on Sunday and continuing cold weather next week the winter climbing prospects will be looking really good for the New Year.
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