Dave and I met the students on a particularly ‘minging’ day, so it was appropriate to try and stay under the weather and head into the North Face of Ben Nevis to find some firm snow without getting hammered by the weather. We got up to the the bottom of Observatory Gully, got used to moving around on varied underfoot conditions and the wind stayed manageable for the time we were out.
Day 2 Dave went to Buachaille Etive Beag to introduce some of the students to different aspects of Scottish winter, including building snow shelters. Arlie and John wanted to learn to lead climb in winter, so we went to the sheltered climb Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach in Glen Coe to give some calm conditions to learn in. Good snowy conditions ensured that it felt very different to the summer rock climbing they had plenty of experience in. Things are harder in gloves!
Day 3, We all headed to the gondola at Nevis Range. Arlie, John and I started early with the 0800 climbers gondola so we could go to the classic mountaineering route Golden Oldy. We had to finish early enough so they could catch an evening flight from Glasgow, so the pressure was on! With lots of fresh snow, I was in snow plough mode, breaking trail for us and the following parties. The rewards were great frozen turf, fantastic views and a brilliant climb for all.
Dave headed up Aonach Mor, and made it through the challenging ridge conditions over to summit Aonach Beag, with opportunity to get some imaginative winter skills training on the way… Good job!