Me and Dave headed up to The Lakes from Bristol on Wednesday afternoon and had a chilly van night underneath a frosty Blencathra. We enjoyed a gentle leg stretch up Blunt Gully, finishing with the top half of Sharp Edge - just passed the “Sharp” bit. At Tyndrum, the snow gates were closed making a night time drive over Rannoch Moor unavailable. We settled down in the van for a second snowy sleep. Up early and with the snow ploughs having done their job over the Moor, we were on the The Bauchaille. I thought North Buttress would be a good classic as Dave’s first Scottish winter route. It was. That evening we checked into the Alex Mac’ hut in North Ballachulish and with Storm Henry (love that) on it’s way that night and into tomorrow, a rest day was called for. On Tuesday we hooked up with fellow MIC trainee Alister and we made a team of three on D Gully Buttress - into the top half of Curved Ridge back on The Bauchaille. With poor weather coming from the west, we were pretty well sheltered on that part of the mountain all day. Happy with that, we arranged to climb with Mark (another) MIC trainee the following day. The Ben was called for with such good weather. Comb Gully was in amazing conditions with real classic Nevis snow ice all the way, really good climbing. After a wonder to the summit - with Dave achieving "Tallest Man In Britain Award" by standing on the summit cairn, we descended Number 3 Gully. Not a bad intro to Scottish winter climbing for Dave. That night he caught his over night bus back to Bristol Bus Station. Well done Mate!
That evening I went to see Alun, a mountain guide who’s staying near me while he does some work. Plans were hatched and we met again with Clive (an MIC also working up here) and Alister at 7:00am in Ballachulish Co-op car park. Off The White Coires we went. The North Ridge of Sron na Creise was on our to do list and short roping practise. Alister teamed up with Clive and Alun with me. After getting to the summit Stob a Ghlais Choire, Alun picked a cheeky looking gully for us me to lead the descent of. Then a traverse along a lesser gully and across the east face. Snowy, rocky ribs led down the east face, Alun stopped at a steep sidewall drop of about ten meters and told me to get him down it. After a lower round a block I counter balance abseiled down to him, and continued short roping down, with Alun trying to slip to keep me on my toes. Great training day.