Saturday 16 March 2013

With friendly grockles on Green

Watery sunshine on the walk in
 Queueing up for Vanishing
 Pitch 3
 Almost at the last belay
After chopping thru the cornice in the wind
It was another lovely morning walk in to Ben Nevis this morning for Jakub, Neil and myself. The North Face car park was overflowing merrily and this was reflected by the crocodile of pilgrims heading up to find a climb to do. There was fresh avalanche debris visible at the foot of Boomer's Requiem and a the huge queue at the base of Vanishing were being treated to some good waves of spindrift.
We headed in to Coire na Ciste hoping to do Green Gully. There was a team at the base and another just arriving as we came round the corner above the Hut. 'Good' I thought. They'll be be well on their way by the time we get there. So I was a little surprised that the first leader had only just left the first stance by the time we had walked in to the Ciste, geared up, plodded up a bit and I'd run 2 ropes together up to the base of the route. 'Oh well. we are here now and everyone seems friendly'. The 2 teams were having an adventure and climbing near their limit and good for them. Some of them hadn't climbed much in winter or were lapsed climbers but they were out there getting on it. They missed the odd obvious belay but were happy to listen to advice and let us climb through past them (thank you) and I ended up helping the leader of the front team chop through the cornice as we topped out together. We then gave him back the deadman he'd dropped on the first pitch! 
The 4th pitch was where the weather turned and we topped out into the white room with gusty winds, snow squalls and poor vis. We headed down the Red Burn chatting with Spike and his team who had come up Ledge Route as the wet snow plastered our rucksacks to end the day.

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