Today, I was out with a couple of fellow instructors practising a few bits and pieces up on Ben Nevis. On arriving at the gearing u spot beneath the Trident Buttresses, we could see a steady flow of people heading up to the No. 2 Gully area to climb No. 2 Gully Buttress, No. 2 Gully and Comb Gully Buttress. A team were also making good progress up Green Gully, although the first pitch must have required a bit of mixed climbing! We headed up to North Gully on Creag Coire Na Ciste, and found that the slopes leading up to the climb were largely scoured as was the left hand side of the first couple of pitches. There was an obvious hole in the first pitch a couple of days ago, which normally contains a lick of ice, but that had since been filled in by snow, which was load bearing today, just!
There was a surprising amount of usable ice for both picks and ice screws, giving a few more options for protection. The cornice above the route is quite large at the moment (I wouldn’t want to be underneath it during a substantial thaw!), but a couple of rightward trending pitches by-passes this. We then descended via No. 4 gully, which was again, reasonably scoured, with a few patches of fresh windslab, which could be easily avoided.
We made it down before the worst of the rain swept over, and the forecast for tomorrow is for things to cool back down. However, it could be quite windy!