Friday 17 May 2013

Tower Scoop. The winter that wouldn't die!

Today Neil and I went up Ben Nevis. Its been a few weeks since I carried a heavy pack up a hill and I was feeling it today. Mike had been for a look at Orion Direct but we met him on the way down having found the ice on  the second pitch pretty cruddy. We decided to go  little higher to see what there was to be seen.
Anything in the sun is falling down piece by piece. Anything in the shade is better but not always by much! The Ciste Gullys, Thompsons, Tower Scoop, Green, Comb, Point 5, Hadrian's, Indicator Wall and Good Friday Climb all have snow and ice from the bottom t the top BUT..... Without getting on them its hard to tell whether it is any good and the temperatures aren't quite cold enough for a proper freeze on routes. AND.... There is a huge amount of debris on the move. Ice was constantly falling today and you wanted to watch for a while and choose a line not exposed to falling debris from above.
We went for a quick ascent of Tower Scoop before the sun got onto it after a sweaty flog up Observatory Gully in snow that was ankle to calf deep (an early start might make it firmer). The whole ice fall boomed a bit but it was fatter than the last time I did it and took pretty good screws.
After excavating Neil out of his bucket seat (I think his backside was showing in Australia) we carried on up Tower Gully. Plenty of large cornices up there which will only get droopier (especially after more rain). Were able to outflank Tower Gully's on the left.
Then it was a quick bumslide all the way down the Red Brun for a fast descent home!
Please let that be the end... I really just want to go rock climbing in a t-shirt!
 Starting the walk in
 Still winter up there
 Observatory Gully
 Tower Scoop Pitch 1
Neil Following
Tower Scoop Pitch 2
 Looking up Tower Gully
 ...And looking down
 Swimming past the cornice
 Sunshine and clouds... but more of the former!

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