Sunday 15 May 2016

Tower Ridge in the sun and snow

One last outing for the crampons yesterday for a second day with Andy, David and Ben for Atlas Mountaineering. The forecast was cold but quite clear... it turned out to be hot and sunny! Plenty of fresh ice in the shade on Point 5, Smiths and even The Screen all melting during the day. We popped crampons on and walked over the avalanche debris that is almost a week old before shedding them to get onto the Ridge. It was dry and got warmer as we climbed- nice to meet Tommy from Jottnar as he overhauled us near the top of the Little Tower too. The Eastern Traverse was snow free but the through route beyond was half full of snow and ice- doable with a squeeze though. We took our lunch in the sun atop the Great Tower before giving a last show to the summit crowds crossing the Gap. The fun wasn't entirely over though. We had to stick the spikes on for a last few feet to the summit (difficult to avoid the hard icey patch and way too firm for steps). Well done to the 3 amigos!
 Ben Nevis yesterday
 Looking good
 Avalanche debris possibly from 8th May
 Observatory Gully
 Sunshine and snow
 Heading up
 On the Little Tower
 Not bad, eh?
 A good view back down the Ridge
 Ledge Route snow free after No. 5 Gully
 Doable with a few cut steps and a squeeze!
 Summit audience
 View across Coire na Ciste from the Great Tower
 3 in the Gap
Looking from the summit back to the Gap

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