Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Hard work on Tower ridge

Today Jamie and I went to Ben Nevis. Jamie has indoor climbing experience and wanted to see something gnarly from a day's mountaineering in Scotland- he wasn't disappointed! The torential rain at sea level last night fell as a large dump of snow above 700m. After a stiff walk in to the CIC the snow began pretty much as we hit the ridge and it was deep in places. In fact above 750m every groove, hollow and flat ledge on Tower Ridge held betwen 1 and 2 feet of fresh powder- I began digging.... Under the snow or on walls, in cracks and on bare rock moisture had frozen to a fine coating of verglas. The axe and crampons were definitely needed today and Jamie did superbly giving 110% to wade and slide his way up the ridge in very tough conditions. The tat round the block at the gap was frozen to the rock in 1 big icey lump but even that high there was water beneath the ice at 2pm. On the summit plateau there was calf deep fresh snow and people had been following the re-located cairns (see: MCofS for details) leaving a fine trail to the summit. Stunning inversions and late afternoon light on descent.

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