Tuesday 28 February 2012

Ledge Route and more thaw

Thin snow on the slab
Thread belay
Patchy cover below
Direct belay on a block
Ledge Route popular today- gorillas in the mist
Topping out with a heavy wet rope!
Looks like rain deer (sorry)
So today Kieran took Nicky up Ledge Route with me offering advice. The thaw continues and the All a Mhuillin is still deep and wide. We opted to go up No. 5 Gully but not hang around aware of the possibility of rock and ice fall from above. Then Kieran put in a wee pitch up the slab which was just snow covered but may not be tomorrow after today's traffic. We got to build a couple of creative belays using the snow and use a thread and some spike for more direct belays as we headed onto the crest above. We saw a couple of teams from JSMTW Ballachullish and overtook a pair of lads moving together and were pleasantly surprised that most of the route is still snow covered. We went to have a look down No.4 and although there are slumping cornices around the Gully rim they are not overhung and seem stable. The snow in the Gully itself was quite firm. Not a place to hang around though as there is evidence of extensive stonefall and large blocks of ice lying on the snow all around Coire na Ciste.
We saw plenty of visiting Euros with very technical tools- poor things. Those pastel shades don't look so good stained with peat and all soggy. I also chatted to Chris who had done No. 3 Gully Buttress nut the top couple of pitches were reported as very rocky. A team from The Ice Factor had been to look at Tower Scoop and said it was hard to see the ice for the amount of water flowing over it- they popped up the Douglas Gully East, down West and up No. 2 which was straightforward with a small avoidable cornice.
Geoff's site speaks of a slightly cooler week ahead. It would make a nice change. I had my blue rubber gloves on again today!

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