Topping out in the sun
Down timeAt last a bit of climbing... and what a day for it!
Today the MIC Training course at Glenmore Lodge was out to look at personal climbing skills and guiding climbers using parallel rope technique. Phil took a team onto the arete to the left of the Runnel whilst Derek and I took our parties to the Mess of Pottage. There was a pair ahead of us established on the start of The Slant so I fell in behind to see where they went whilst Derek opted to make use of the good ground to the right of Jacob's ladder.
As we were starting around the corner came 2 ropes of 3 people wandering up the gully with variable (but large) amounts of slack rope between them and an absence of gear. It's as if people feel that just being tied to someone else in a steep snowy gully confers some kind of safety to them rather than putting them all at an increased risk. After our experiments on gentler snow slopes than this yesterday (and with much more effective approaches to rope handling) our MIC Trainees were pretty aghast at this group.
Anyway... we made sure that we were all well out of the way in case a big ball of rope and people came down the Gully and carried on. The team on The Slant stayed on it which meant that we could get Hidden Chimney to ourselves. Its a bit boney (i.e. lots of rock showing through) but with some good firm snow on the ledges and chockstones. a few of the cracks were well iced up but Frances and Ash found plenty of good gear as they took turns to lead us up the route in 4 pitches. Topping out onto the plateau with very little wind (it was -9 C on the top today) was a real pleasure and with a little time in hand we opted to abseil down the now empty Jacob's Ladder (they survived) and make our way back to the Lodge to review the day.