Tuesday 7 February 2012

A trip back west

Derek at the top of Pitch 1 No.2 Gully Buttress (why did we rope up?)
Start of Pitch 2- don't look at the belay :-(
Pitch 2 was just a snowfield so Derek gets pitch 3 too
Topping out
Lovely day... again... I could get used to this!
Day 2 of the MIC Assessment based at Glenmore Lodge that I am observing and it was personal climbing. After an early start we arrived at a busy Ben Nevis and the candidates paired up each with an assessor and picked a route at Grade III minimum. After catching the chat and the setup Derek and I backed off to let them go and do their thing. To kill some time we went to do No.2 Gully Buttress and for some reason we took a rack and ropes.... the belays were mostly poor and the gear buried- but the climbing was good. We should have just soloed it and gone and done another route.
As it was we wanted to make sure we weren't going to hold the candidates up so we scratched and dug holes and frowned at screws in snow ice and nuts hammered into icey flared cracks... and then there was the spindrift on Derek's pitch. Its ok, he didn't need to see his feet anyway.
There was a great deal of snow being deposited onto Northerly aspects throughout the day and many routes were attracting spindrift. This was collecting in isolated deposits and one of these avalanched at about 2 pm (a crown wall in No.3 Gully near the base of winter chimney that stretched halfway across the gully and was visible from the Ciste Lochan which the debris stopped only a couple of metres short of- no-one involved.
People were climbing Green, Comb, White Line, Tower Ridge, Central Left and Right, Wendigo and the SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder. The area around the Upper Cascade and Comb Gully Buttress were both holding a lot of ice too.
We dropped down No. 4 Gully and arrived for a late dinner back at the Lodge before the candidates were briefed on their students for tomorrow.

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