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Friday, 4 March 2011

Thaw and refreeze for the weekend

There has been great climbing conditions and weather all this week though it did start to warm up on Wednesday. By Thursday the snow pack was starting to get a bit wet though any thick blue ice was plastic and fun to climb as long as you were aware of any potentially loose blocks.

The later part of this week has been spring like with no overnight frosts and a slow thaw of the snow pack. The main snow gully lines in the Northern Corries are still complete but the buttresses and some of the thinner ice routes are now broken or looking very black. Many of the buttress routes would suit an alpine style ascent in big boots rather than axes and crampons once actually on the route.
Having said that with good route choice there is still plenty of good winter climbing to be had on the easier snow routes and a few of the ice and mixed routes of Grade 1 to 3 and the odd 4.
The Loch Avon basin and Loch Etchachan area has seen a fair bit of activity recently due to the good weather, underfoot conditions on the plateau and good ice buildup in some places, though the sun will have taken it's toll on any south facing aspects.
The good news is it's to get colder again and everything should start to freeze up well from the weekend. In fact it's likely to become very icy yet again!
There is also snow being forecast to low levels from the middle of next week, so winter is far from over yet!
Rather than mention specific honeypot routes and create dangerous overcrowding just look below on the blog and on UKC's winter reports to see what's being climbed by SOME registered UKC forum members.
It's also worth looking at Alan H's blog and his videos to see what Glenmore Lodge and other guides have been doing.
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