UPDATE July 2015: Ken and Hannah are now running Scottish walking, mountaineering and climbing courses for West Coast Mountain Guides.
A violently shaken snow globe that is! I was out today with Ken (another one, I’m not going mad), and working for West Coast Mountain Guides. Ken has a number of classic routes under his belt, and was keen to add to his tally, unfortunately the wind on Ben Nevis had other ideas. It was clear on the approach that the SE winds were much stronger than forecasted, and with plumes of spindrift streaming off the crests and engulfing the corries, we chose not to climb NE Buttress, or anything else high on the mountain.
After taking shelter in the lee of the CIC Hut, and weighing up our options, we settled for the SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder. This gave us a reasonable amount of shelter, and was in good condition, and a little less buried than last time I was up there. In the past Ken has swayed towards ice climbing, so the SW Ridge gave him a healthy dose of mixed climbing. We finished by abseiling down the East Gully, and with the winds showing no sign of easing, called it a day. Very few routes climbed today, although a number of teams were braving the winds on Tower Ridge. The shifting winds have redistributed snow on many aspects, making route choice and travel around the mountain quite tricky, but the snow is slowly but surely consolidating.
A couple of videos to show the spindrift: