50 years to the day since Marshall and Smith did the first ascent of
the great chimney, we made a great fun ascent today in superb
conditions. No wind, some good ice and neve, and temperature just
hovering on zero, we couldn't have asked for more.
Apart maybe from some extra bodies to help with the morning carry,
which was a litle hard on backs and shoulders. We hauled a ton of
rope, kit, and cameras to the hut to kick things off, so leaving to
stroll up observatory gully we had a spring in our step after leaving
some of it behind. Well, donald did anyway, racing up tower ridge to
fix a rope for paul to climb up.
I was lucky and got the main pitch which had superb rock spikes to
grab hold of any time the ice got a bit hollow. Andy's pitch, where
marshall used a point of aid on a short overhanging barrier was indeed
steep. Thankfully his crampon points weren't placed inches above my
head for too long and we were up into the mild afternoon air on tower
Paul did well to move quickly into position up his rope and his
footage of the climb showed off the fine rock architecture of the
cavernous slit through the ridge. Tomorrow we might be deviating from
the itinerary of Marshall and smith and heading for pigotts route
next. We'llsee what the morning brings.
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