|Roy and Garry approaching the belay on pitch 2|
|Andy's team abseiling down East Gully|
|Garry and Roy down climbing East Gully|
I have been working for Jagged Globe this past week on a Winter Mountaineering Course. It has been a challenging week with high winds, rain and a freezing level above the summits each day apart from Friday (pictures above). There was a big team on the course many who were off on expeditions in the not too distant future with Denali being the favourite.
On Monday Andy Stotesbury and I took our team of 8 to Glen Nevis after a morning indoors looking at ropework to do some abseiling and other ropework. On Tuesday we were joined by Andy Chapman to lower the ratio's and we headed into Stob Coire nan Lochan were we got onto some fairly soggy snow to look at movement skills, snow anchors and introduced short roping movement. It was a fairly grim day with constant rain but the team did well to stay warm and motivated. Wednesday was another poor forecast so the morning was spent at the Ice Factor and in the afternoon the Jagged Globe Doctor David ran a 1st Aid Session and answered questions on altitude issues. Thursday was spent looking at crevasse rescue, fixed lines and some dry (wet) tooling. Finally Friday brought us some cold weather so we headed to Ben Nevis to see what was left. With other instructors joining the team we had a ratio of 1:2 so we could climb. I was with Garry and Roy who were both off to Denali and were keen to climb some steep snow up and down with one axe. We headed towards the Douglas Boulder to do the West - East Traverse and although west gully was broken in places it still worked well. Andy and his team had the same plan which made it nice and sociable! We climbed west gully in 3 pitches before Garry and Roy down climbed east gully in 1 long 60m pitch. We then traversed into Observatory Gully and headed back to the bus. A good end to a challenging week. Good Luck Garry and Roy with your trip in May and thanks for your company, along with all the others on the course.
Conditions high up on Ben Nevis were not too bad with Green, Comb, Cascade, Smiths, Tower, Central, North, Glovers all getting ascents or looking reasonable. Now we just need some colder weather or snow! I was meant to be ski mountaineering this week but that has been cancelled, might have to dig out the rock shoes!