A mixed introduction to mixed climbing.
Abacus Mountain Guides
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1w ago
Tom was lucky enough to book onto one of our Classic Winter Climbing trips and end up being by himself for the week. This is less sociable of course but has meant that we can do just about whatever he wanted. Luckily, Tom wanted to explore the mixed up world of mixed climbing, lucky because there has been a lot of snow, continuous low temperatures and a persistent Considerable avalanche hazard. We need snow-thaw-freeze cycles to form snow-ice in our classic climbs. We have the snow and the freeze but without the thaw periods the snow has not transformed into ice or settled down into stable sn ..read more
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Full-on winter.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
2w ago
This week has been very much like January on the west coast of Scotland should be - cold, wet and windy. Each day, Richard, Phil and I have come back soaked, battered and exhausted. Each evening we have dried out all our gear ready to do it all again the next day. Winter climbing is a strange game. We started out on Tuesday with Curved Ridge. This was actually lovely and we had some nice views. The ridge was well covered in snow and the wind was not as strong as forecast. The temperature did rise to above the summits though so we got pretty wet on the way down. We were talking about avalanch ..read more
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Snow has arrived.
Abacus Mountain Guides
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1M ago
Snow has been building up nicely over the last week. On the west coast we have had a good amount of snow, down to the roads on a few occasions, interspersed with quite quick thaw freeze cycles. Snow - thaw - freeze cycles are great for locking snow in place and building good climbing conditions. We are still in the building phase, but it is looking promising. The outlook weather forecast looks OK as well, with mixed weather but generally cold for the next couple of weeks. After the Christmas feast it was nice to get back out again to burn off some extra calories, especially to find some snow ..read more
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A nice start.
Abacus Mountain Guides
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1M ago
Today was a lovely day to be on Ben Nevis or any other mountain in Scotland. Lawan and I went up Ledge Route to the summit of Ben Nevis on crispy snow in the sunshine, and it was fabulous. It couldn't have been more different to the soaking I got yesterday! Wet snow gave way to a brief thaw yesterday before a clear night made the temperature fall away again. So, the wet, fresh snow froze to make it crusty in some places and firm in others where the snow was quite thin. The rocks were really quite icy with verglas and there is thick icy rime on many of the buttresses. But progress up Ledge Ro ..read more
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Planning for a winter walk.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
1M ago
When planning a walk it is very easy to fall into the trap of selecting a particular mountain days or weeks in advance and then just going with it, even though the conditions on the day are terrible. In this blog post we will take you through the steps to follow when planning your next walk. What is the weather forecast? You probably already have a rough area in mind, or a limit on how far you are willing to drive. So what is the weather going to be doing in that area? Firstly, you need to find the correct weather forecast - the weather on the mountain summits is very different to down in th ..read more
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Becoming a British Mountain Guide.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
2M ago
This was a pivotal moment in my life, a moment of very careful consideration that changed the direction of everything I was working towards. My life hinged around this moment, turned to a new path, one which I have followed without looking back ever since. The moment was at the age of 17 with my university application form, neatly filled in with my best hand writing for aeronautical engineering courses, sealed in the envelope and held in the mouth of the letterbox. I was at the point of dropping it in when I took a moment to consider the impact of letting go. ​ My Dad always said that I neve ..read more
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Dry on Skye.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
2M ago
Looking at the forecast at 5am this morning, I was close to staying at home. Weather warnings for strong winds and rain further south in Scotland stood out, as well as the 60mph wind speed with 70mph gusts on Sgurr Alasdair. This with a weather front arriving at lunchtime with heavy rain and a temperature of only just above freezing. It was not looking good. Even when I arrived at Sligachan to meet Akshar I could easily have said that it was not worth trying, all things considered. I waited for the heaviest rain to clear and ran in to the hotel to chat about the chances of getting in any cli ..read more
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Environmental sustainability repost.
Abacus Mountain Guides
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2M ago
This was first posted in February 2021 but it's exactly the same now. ​While I was out for a walk recently I was talking about how helpless I feel about being able to do something about our impact on the planet. I feel like I can't do anything meaningful to help reverse human impact on climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, plastic waste and extreme weather events. Our climate emergency seems like such a huge problem it is difficult to see how anything I can do on a personal level will change anything. Why do I bother trying to recycle plastic when there are huge floating islands of i ..read more
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Landslide on Ben Nevis.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
3M ago
During last week we had a lot of rain. The intensity of the rain peaked at about midnight on Thursday night into Friday morning. There was 67.6mm of rain on Thursday 6th October and in total there was 159.8mm over the four days Monday to Thursday. In one hour (11pm Thursday 6th to midnight) there was 26.2mm of rainfall recorded in Glen Nevis. This is quite a lot, even for Lochaber standards! All of this data is available on the SEPA website here - ​https://www2.sepa.org.uk/rainfall//data/index/115343 As a result there was a landslide on Ben Nevis which didn't hurt anyone but has resulted ..read more
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It's crap on Ben Nevis.
Abacus Mountain Guides
by
5M ago
This title doesn't mean that climbing Ben Nevis is not a good experience, it refers to the amount of crap that we walkers and climbers leave behind on the mountain. We need to have a matter of fact conversation about our impact. This blog will talk plainly about pee and poo, and it's past time that we all became a bit more comfortable talking about these things in order that we can lessen the mess we leave behind. The situation is so severe that Jahama Highland Estates has formally reported the huge amounts of human excrement on Ben Nevis to SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency). I ..read more
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