Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Worth Waiting For...

Last Saturday Dan and I attempted to ascend Ben Nevis. The forecasts all said that there would be high winds (gusting 90-100mph). They were spot on! We had a very blustery walk towards the Half way Lochan but at that point, we were struggling to stand up. The gusts were getting more and more ferocious to the point of blowing us over.
Rather than descend the same way, I took Dan over the moor towards the Allt a Mhullin, to try and get some shelter from the wind. The plan worked eventually worked and we headed down to the Ice-factor to make the most of the rest of the day.

Finally, the much awaited High Pressure we'd all been patiently hoping for, arrived and on Tuesday, Andy and I headed onto North East Buttress on Ben Nevis. We approached the route via Slingsby's Chimney which gave a nice second pitch to start the climbing. The conditions were great and although there was a bit of a bottleneck as we and a large number of French teams topping out from the Minus Gullies, arrived at a belay at the same time, it was a first class day. It's been a challenging season for work and for personal climbing so to get a chance to enjoy the stunning weather was superb! Definitely worth waiting for!

Andy next to some of the Observatory Gully Avalanche Debris

On Friday, I was working for Maximum Adventure with a group who were planning a Winter ascent of the 3 peaks. By most accounts, the snow had really shifted from Snowdon and Scafell Pike in the last week or so but the Ben proved more than wintry enough! We followed the zig zags up to corner 2 and then headed up the slope to the plateau. The winds were forecast to be gusting up to 80mph but we never encountered more than about 45mph gusts. Navigation was still very challenging on the plateau but we reached the summit after about 3hrs 30min. On the return from here, the wind and rain/sleet was right in our faces, so hoods tight and goggles were the order of the day. The team made it back down in 6 hours total, pretty impressive considering the conditions.Thoroughly soaked through, I have to say it was nice to head home and get dried off rather than start the 6 hours mini bus trip to Scafell Pike!

Nadir also finished editing the film I was involved in on Scabbard Chimney a couple of weeks back. Enjoy it HERE!