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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Good climbing conditions in the Cairngorms

With the recent thaw and the melt freeze cycles over the past week the snow conditions in the Northern Corries are now surprisingly good. With clear skies and overnight frosts forecast for the next few days the climbing conditions can only continue to improve.
We had expected the easy snow gullies to be in good nick but were surprised by the amount of ice and good neve on some of the classic buttress lines such as Doctors Choice.
Jim H and Beth reported good conditions on Fingers Ridge with great neve reported on the ledges and grooves of some of the harder rock lines too... Andy N and Jonathan P climbed Sax Appeal and again reported great conditions.
Having said all that the ice is still pretty thin and crusty on some of the normal ice routes such as the start of Red Gully. There were climbers on the Slant, Hidden Chimney, Jacobs Ladder, Aladdins Couloir, Central Gully, the Runnel, Spiral Gully, Red Gully, Goat Track Gully and Fiacaill Couloir. As well as several of the harder buttress lines. The crag approaches and aprons (passing by large areas of old avalanche debris from last weekend) are now excellent on good solid snow. There's good neve and firm but crusty snow in places in some of the gullies with very small corniced exits. The buttress routes have a limited amount of rime but were well frosted today with a banking of neve on many of the ledges and grooves making for enjoyable climbing.
We had an enjoyable day climbing Goat-track gully after Spiral Gully. At one point we followed the giant hard icy steps from yesterday that came in from the now icy Fluted Buttress, before following our nose up some lovely untrodden little grooves. What a difference a day can make!!!
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