I was glad to do this route after years of waiting a week ago...... I was equally glad Andy requested it today- its great. I knew it might be busy as Alan Kimber did it and blogged it yesterday and told me he was heading there again. So I caught and early lift down with Guy and Graham (who were also after it) to meet Andy who I was climbing with today. To Graham's horro he realised he'd left his boots in Fort William so Andy offered to let Guy climb with us. We were the first team on th route and the guys climbed really well- keeping a good line in banter going the whole way. In fact I was almost too weak from laughter to place ice screws on the crux - but I'm not sure Andy's tendency to compare me to 'the Hoff' was a compliment!!
We were up and down in very good time, keeping ahead of the several teams who appeared later, and heading off to my house to exchange photos, have a brew and a brownie and let Andy hit the road for a long drive home- hopefully see you in March mate!
Conditions: plenty of fresh unconsolidated snow, some isolated slab on the descent, snowing above 300m, raining lower down. The route was weeping a little water but in good nick despite quite a few footsteps and being a little chopped about.
WARNING. Just thought I'd add this. There are big patches of snow, hanging ice and ice bonded rock all perched just waiting to let rip. The thaw due to start tomorrow may well cause some big snow/rock/ice avalanches and falls in the next couple of days. Please think very hard before you go somewhere where you don't know exactly what conditions are like above you. In particular watch out for all those ice filled gullys. Its only 1 weekend and if the freeze is over so be it. Better to go to the wall, to build some brownie points with the family and stay at home, or go for a walk than to end up a statistic.