Sunday 30 January 2011

First winter route of the season

Fine high pressure weather on Ben Nevis this week

Snow bunting enjoying the views and climbers sandwiches on the summit

Lovely morning in Observatory Gully

Ines leads off up an excellent thin ice slab on Triple X VIII, 8

With physio exercises commenced on my hernia I felt OK to try a day out winter climbing. So I teamed up with Ines Papert and Charly who are visiting Scotland and headed up the Ben. After a brief wander about with me pointing out various new route possibilites, we settled on a look at a new icy mixed line based on the summer route Rolling Stones.
Charly set off, getting past a slightly sketchy thin crux bulge and embarked on a long traverse above our heads. It looked tricky. It was kind of bold to second as well as lead after I (being last on the rope) took out the backrope runner at the start of the traverse.
Next up it was Ines’ turn and she headed off across a very thinly iced slab which looked great fun. Ines was looking very at home on the ice and we enjoyed following a lot more than the previous pitch.
Last up it was my turn and I joined Ian Small and Ian Parnell’s new route from last year, Faith Healer VIII,7 at the start of it’s crux pitch. The steep chimney was great fun and nice to be reacquainted with the absorption of winter leading again after ten months or so since I last wielded my ice tools on a mixed route.
Triple X, VIII,8 gave us three nice pitches and satisfied an urge to open a new line on this nice little face that I’d spied while wandering about near Echo Wall in the past.

The line of Triple X

Next day it was back in action on the bouldering front. I managed to do the crux move on my highball project in Glen Nevis again which is getting me excited. I feel like I have a good sequence for most of it now and all I’m needing is a few more kgs worth of raw crimping strength. Next week’s forecast looks good for concentrating on the crimping strength, rather than braving the storms...

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