Saturday 18 January 2014

Tough times on Tower Ridge

I knew the weather wasn't perfect. I knew the Ridge was going to be buried. But Tony and Mike were up for an adventure so we went for it anyway.
I'm pretty weary now.
Deep snow from the word go. I know where most of the usual anchors are on the Ridge and many of them are buried. I've never had to use snow anchors so often on the ridge before.
Up to and on the Little Tower the rime has been through freeze thaw cycles and is firm and helpful. Even though I know teams have been on the Ridge each of the last 2 days there was almost no evidence of their passing other than when I fell into the odd old track buried in fresh snow.
Around the Great Tower the rime is softer, airy and pretty useless at anything other than hiding holds and gear! By the time we crossed the gap it was gusting strong enough to batter me around and we were all grateful for a little respite from the wind on topping out. It seemed obligatory to take in the summit as Tony hadn't been before and as we turned the corner at Tower Gully the wind rose again and began trying to exfoliate any exposed skin. About turn from the summit cairn to put the breeze behind us and it was a dog leg bearing to take us perfectly to the top of the zig zags where we hopped across into the Red Burn to head down.
Rarely has a pint at the Lochy Bar tasted so good… the hot bath and the leftover steak and black pudding stew were pretty awesome too!
Not many pics today- I was busy digging and kicking.
 Getting onto the Ridge
 After the first traverse… what rock?
 Waiting to start the Eastern Traverse
 Coming over
The last belay before the top…. phew!

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