While I was walking around the rim of Coire an t-Sneachda yesterday I had a look down Jacobs Ladder gully. The Cornice at the top was steep but well frozen and the top 2/3rds of the gully looked good. Today I found out that looks can be deceptive. After swimming in thigh deep snow on approach with the snow taking the weight of one foot on top while the other was sinking in, it was another ominous sighn to see the icicles stating to fall from the cliffs. Still the gully looked good with ice shining through, but it was only surface depth with the deeper you went the softer it was, melting from the ground up after March’s hot temperatures. Normally the higher you go the better it gets, but this time it was worse. As I approached the last 10m and the near vertical cornice, it all went to shit. Soft sugar snow crud with no purchase for the pick but still to hard to sink your toes in. I resulted to cutting bucket steps for my feet and trying to sink the axes up to their shafts, even then as I was cutting one step the other was crumbling. 45 mins to climb the last 10m and I crawled out on top very relieved. Lesson learnt but maybe not heeded. Grade I can often be a lot more. Especially when solo.