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December 07 Conditions

Full winter conditions
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Monday 31st December 2007

Neil on the Eastern Traverse

I had a great day out with Neil today. As a visiting climber from the U.S. he wanted to do a classic route on the Ben.

We had a fantastic, albeit wet day on Tower Ridge. What a great way to finish the year.

The weak front passed through during the day with very mild temperatures leaving light winds from the south.

Neil in Tower Gap Out of the Gap and nearing the top of the route

Sunday 30th December 2007


We had a beautiful day today in the Cairngorms. It was cold (-4°C in the corries) and sunny.

Alex, David and Alex were learning more winter skills including bucket seats, buried ice axe belays and emergency shelters.

It was very busy on the hill today with many climbers, walkers and skiers enjoying the fantastic weather.

David in an emergency shelter Belaying from a bucket seat.

Saturday 29th December 2007

Learning to kick steps in hard snow

I took Alex, David and Alex on a day of winter skills today. We looked at kicking and cutting steps, cramponing, navigating and ice axe arrest. We also summited Cairngorm where it was -2°C.

The day started clear and cold with strong westerlies and a freezing level of 800m. By the afternoon the wind had veered to the north west, it was snowing down to 600m and the crags were riming up.

Over in Coire an Lochain Matt and team were enjoying themselves on Deep Throat.

Alex, Alex and David well dressed for the conditions Learning to crampon

Friday 28th December 2007


It was 3°C at sea level this morning with fresh snow down to 600m. Mark and I had a look at the Mess of Pottage but the temperature at 1000m was also 3°C and the fresh snow was sluffing off the slabs and the rock was dripping with water.

Instead of doing our planned buttress route we went up The Slant, this grade 1 route finds an easy way through the Mess of Pottage. There was a strong SW wind blowing across the tops.

There is a video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left.

Approaching Coire an T-Sneachda Mark half way up The Slant

Friday 21st December 2007

Ice Climbing in Central Gully on Lurcher's Crag. (photo by Kev Rutherford)

Kev and I went ice climbing today. Central Gully On Lurcher's Crag is an excellent 300m grade III. The ice fall is a frozen stream so it doesn't need much snow, just lots of cold weather.

Today the first 200m was continuous ice with 4 distinct steep sections up to grade IV. The last 100m was a pleasant walk on frozen grass to the top.

Approaching Central Gully (photo by Kev Rutherford) Kev at the top of the steepest section in Central Gully

Wednesday 19th December 2007


Andy, Jonathan and I had a great day climbing in Garbh Choire Dhaidh. This corrie on Braeriach is rarely visited but with a bike we were able to get in and out in the daylight. At this time of year it's a great place to climb because later in the season it banks out with snow and has massive cornices.

It was -6°C in Gleann Einich and +6°C on the tops.

There is a video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left.

Andy on thin ice in Garbh Choire Dhaidh Jonathan climbing high in Garbh Choire Dhaidh

Tuesday 18th December 2007

Ice Formations at sea level in Inverness

Another beautiful day in the Highlands of Scotland. Mike and I went climbing at Goat crag and Am Fasgadh at Gruinard today.

It was -6°C at sea level on the East coast. Over on the West coast it rose to 5°C in the shade but felt lots warmer in the sun.

I've just added the new Balgy Bouldering Topo to the Downloads page. Don't forget there are handy equipment lists available to download too.

An Tellach today Mike on Goat Crag

Monday 17th December 2007

Nick climbing at Moy

Mike, Kev and I headed to Inverness's new sport climbing venue. Although cold this bolted conglomerate crag at Moy has the sun all day even at this time of year.

At the moment there are 6 routes. They are well equipped but wear a helmet as there are still a few loose pebbles.


Sunday 16th December 2007


Rich and I headed across to Torridon to enjoy some sandstone bouldering. We climbed at Annat and on the Balgy Boulder.

With the continuing high pressure there are temperature inversions with freezing levels above the tops and frost all day in some glens.

There is a bouldering video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left.

Beinn Alligin today The Balgy Boulder with Liathach in the background

Saturday 15th December 2007

Lawrence at Am Fasgadh

I went sport climbing today at Am Fasgadh. It was a busy day at this sheltered venue in the Gruinard area of north west Scotland. We had sunshine for the few hours it was above the horizon!

The snow that is left in the mountains is consolidating well. Don't forget to check the avalanche service website before you head into the hills. They started their reports and forecasts yesterday.


Friday 14th December 2007

The classic Dagger problem (V6/Font 7a)

This afternoon Rich and I headed out to Duntelchaig to boulder in the excellent cool dry conditions. We added a left hand start to the Dagger problem. Revolver goes at V3/Font 6b.

With High pressure dominating to the East of Scotland it looks like a dry weekend to come.


Wednesday 12th December 2007

RAF Sea King

I was out with the Glenmore Lodge Mountain Rescue Team again today. We were doing some training with the RAF rescue helicopter.

A milder southerly airflow is affecting the Highlands now with 7°C at 350m. The buttresses up in Coire an Lochain were looking pretty black.


Tuesday 11th December 2007

Glenmore Lodge Mountain Rescue Team

Today I was out with the Glenmore Lodge Mountain Rescue Team doing some training on Cairngorm Mountain.

The buttresses were white with rime and busy with climbers.

There were skiers out enjoying Ptarmigan bowl and the dry windblown snow on the plateau.

Looking North to the Cairngorm ski area and Ben Wyvis Views west to Fiacail Buttress

Sunday 9th December 2007


Mark and I went climbing on Ben Nevis today. We climbed The Slab Climb on South Trident Buttress. Martin and Rob were climbing Strident Edge on the same Buttress.

Although we had some views to start with the cloud level soon dropped and the wind picked up. The freezing level dropped from 1000m to 700m through the day.

There is a video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left.

South Trident Buttress Mark on the slab of The Slab Climb

Saturday 8th December 2007


Rob and I had a great day out climbing on the Mess of Pottage today. We climbed Wachacha which is an excellent mixed climb following the line of a Summer Hard Severe.

The day started cold, clear and still but the expected front arrived in the afternoon bringing wind and snow. The freezing level was around 600m all day.

There is a video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left. Also check Rob's blog for his report and more photos.

Rob at the base of Wachacha in fine weather Rob at the top of the route in deteriating weather

Sunday 2nd December 2007


Murdo and I headed into Coire an Lochain today and had a great time on Deep Throat.

It was quite busy with teams on Western Route, Sidewinder, Aqualung, Hooker's Corner and the Hoarmaster.

There is a video on You Tube which can be accessed by clicking on the photo to the left.

Finlay and team on The Hoarmaster, and Brian and Heike on Hooker's Corner Murdo on the 2nd pitch of Deep Throat

Saturday 1st December 2007

Dave Macleod working on a Drying Tooling Masterclass

Yesterday I was working at the Dry Tooling Fest being held at Glenmore Lodge.

There were beginner winter climbing workshops, a dry tooling competition and masterclass workshops from Dave Macleod and Lucy Creamer.

Today was the first day that I had to scrape the ice off my windscreen. Winter is upon us!