Well, the Winter 2018 season in Scotland will go down as one of the best for quite some time! After 2017 (which must have been one of the worst!) it was a real relief to get some decent conditions which just seemed to improve as the season went on.
I usually work most of my season for the Joint Services who are based in Ballachulish. I really enjoy working with them throughout the season and this year was a good balance of climbing and mountaineering courses. The first 2 weeks of the season were spent Winter Foundation courses and then it was straight in to a Winter Mountain Leader assessment. These courses are tough for everybody (including the assessment staff) and walking in to our snow hole site on Creag Meagaidh in 65mph winds and heavy rain will stick in my mind for a while! Only 1 candidate passed out of the 4 proving how tough this assessment is!
After the WML it was in to 4 weeks of back to back climbing courses which was just great! The conditions were generally pretty good so it was nice to have the choice of crags. This season though has been about the ice! At times it was everywhere! The last few weeks of the season I was back on Mountaineering courses making for a nice gentle end to the season and a chance to visit some new areas around Fort William.
For me the highlights of Winter 2018 were climbing Orion Direct with the right hand finish (VI.5) on a beautiful clear day, Compression Crack (V.5) with a REALLY late start and a snatched day ski touring around Creag Meagaidh.
Picture taken with me leading the crux pitch of Compression Crack, a stiff grade V on Ben Nevis.
Lets hope for more seasons like this!