Sunday 20 December 2009

Not so bad on The Ben

Today I was out with Mike who has some experience of leading at up to Grade II and wanted to see what something a little harder was like. We went to Ben Nevis waking to several inches of fresh snow in Corpach and a windy forecast. A careful look at the charts showed a possible clear spell this morning so we tried to time things to be hitting Coire na Ciste to be able to see what was happening. There was a great deal of fresh powder on the walk in but very few climbers (other than a pair heading for Ledge Route and a pair heading for Garadh Gully we seemed to have the Coire to ourselves). The snow hadn't been subject to a great deal of wind and we didn't see any consolidated slab until we had waded to the base of No. 3 Gully. Scuttling across this we headed for South Gully- a short option given the possible gales due to arrive. We soloed across part of the traverse until it was time for me to leave Mike on a belay and head for the short high step that gives entry to the main groove. There was plenty of fresh powder on top of good older snow ice. The main pitch was in good climbing condition but gear was hard to come by in iced cracks. Mike followed the pitch well despite the odd torrent of spindrift from above. We topped out after a third pitch into light winds and more heavy snowfall. Descent was accomplished rapidly by the Red Burn and back down to Torlundy.
A good day out and the weather was never quite as bad as forecast. a bit of windslab beginning to form on a variety of aspects with plenty more snow falling and moving around as we climbed.


Alex Roddie said...

Looks like you used exactly the same belay as I did the other day ... I must have been doing something right then!! It's a quality route, shame it's so short. I think I'm going to get on Green Gully as soon as I can.

Alan said...

Yes its good for a quick day. Belays on Green are good (first - on left and second - on right in situ) too. Have it!!
Merry Xmas