First Winter Route of the Year

by Mick Ryan The cold weather has started, there was a frost this morning in the Lakes and word was in Ambleside that there must be something in up in Scotland, this just in, “Thursday 2nd November 2006…The Cairngorms having been looking wintry for the past few days after a very light dusting of snow and two or three days of frost. However in the mountains the snow depth is less than a cm and the wintry appearance is due more to the rimed up grass and rock than snow. The original weather forecast of very low temperatures has been disappointing as the high pressure system has moved south with temperature this morning of plus 4 degrees Celsius at 09:00 am in Aviemore and just on freezing on the plateau. After temperatures in double figures and a few days of slight frost the turf looks white but is generally very soft and unfrozen. There´s a bit of thin ice on seepage lines and absolutely NO snow build-up. A few folk have been out pretending to be winter climbing and Hoarmaster was reported as been climbed yesterday. Today Pete McPherson saw folks on Oesophagus and we saw a pair on Pygmy Ridge. This MAYBE more acceptable on pure rock routes routes that do not have any vegetation such as Pygmy but definitely a complete no no on any of the gully or turfy routes such as Oesophagus which will get completely trashed. Personally I wouldn´t bother winter climbing until conditions really warrant it as I´m sure some of the rock routes could still be done with big boots and gloved hands…!!” This report from Winternet-Scotland and you can join the debate at this thread