Winter's on it's way with a biting wind and occasional sleet and snow flurries today.
There's now a light covering of snow on the higher hills.
The forecast of snow and winter weather brings many winter climbers out to play.
Unfortunately in early season good winter climbing conditions can take a long time to buildup and climbing on snowy loose unfrozen ground is not only unpleasant but can result in a lot of damage to the soft underlying ground, rock and to anyone climbing below!
The picture above shows the badly eroded start to Fingers Ridge an often recommended early season winter route which has suffered badly by overly keen users of axes and crampons over the past few year.
In early and late season this and similar routes can often be just as easily climbed with gloves and big boots.
If it's not too icy climbing it as a snowy 'Diff' rock route rather than with ice tools as a winter 'Grade 4' will help minimise the damage...!
On a lighter note the first of the BBC 2's two part climbing series 5 CLIMBS, 5 ISLANDS with Dave McLeod and Tim Emmett was shown tonight - highly recommended. For more details see Dave blog here and the BBC's site here.