A Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Mountaineering Team of John, me, Bob, Linda, Siobhan and Tom were out today. We were due to go to Glen Coe, but having seen the weather forecast decided on going East to Glen Clova and Coire Fee. Before walking in we’d assumed we’d be climbing a buttress, but with good visibility and a look at conditions we chose B Gully. We were able to climb this on soft snow, which grew firmer with height, but we did have to bypass the steep section by a diversion out to the right.
The ice on the steep section looked thin, but climbable. However, it was guarded by a section of steep and wet soft snow from Monday/Tuesday. The bypass was on easier angled soft snow and very firm turf and allowed us to regain the gully via a turfy ramp. We walked off via the Shank of Drumfollow staying on the ridge rather than taking the Kilbo Path, which we thought might have steep icy sections.
There was less snow than I’d expected in Coire Fee. The buttresses were relatively snow free, with just ledges and the defined sheltered or easier lines holding snow. The turf at crag height was very firm. Some ice was hanging in, however looking at the forecast for the next two days I don’t think it will survive through the weekend. Winter Coire and Coire Farchal looked to be holding more snow than Coire Fee, but I’d guess this will all be pretty soft. There are still some big cornice features around and these need to be considered if climbing the gullies in thawing conditions, particularly if the top is in cloud and you can’t see what’s above you. Freezing level above the summits today, the odd light rain shower on a fresh Westerly, but generally dry.