More good weather

Some teams arriving home from Glen Coe report that snow is still present at Stob Coire nan Lochan. although rather warm. Aonach Mor East Face is suffering from the early morning sun. Ben Nevis is still in good shape. The settled spell will fade a little on Wednesday, but return for later in the week and into the weekend.

Alan,
What a weekend! Of the last ten years spent mostly winter mountain walking rather than climbing this had to be the best. Last year was good on Dorsal Arete and Curved Ridge but this was just brilliant.
Friday we headed for Aonach Mor to have a look at Right Twin area but being fairly new to this game got a bit phased by the steepness at the top of Easy Gully. So the three of us took it in turns to lower off an ice axe belay (good practice) into the gully and climb out again. Still good fun even though it was not quite what we came for. We followed this with the summit of Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag before returning via the Aonach Mor Gondola. Fantastic views across to the NE face of Ben Nevis on a glorious sunny afternoon.
Saturday saw us at a very busy North Face car park for an 8am start and after 2hrs we were at the CIC Hut for our first view of the NE face close up. We opted not to do Garadh Gully and went for Ledge Route instead with a few others too and what a good choice it was. A fantastic route with incredible views after which we just had to make the final ascent to the summit. The best day I think I have ever had on the Ben!
Thanks for all your recent advice and let’s hope it’s the start of many more trips.

Jon, Rob and Gavin.

Alan,

Thank you. No doubt you have been out yourself, but the Ben was stunning yesterday. We did NE Buttress, but there were teams on just about every route in the book! Met a Basque and a Hong Kong Chinese bloke doing Astral Highway….international mountaineering!

Photo below.

By-passing the Mantrap

Thanks Duncan. By-passing the Mantrap on the right is a neat way of avoiding the struggle at the nose. Robin Campbell will call it dis-honest no doubt, so what! In some conditions it is possible to just pull hard over right onto the rimed slab very close to the nose. I did it last week and had to descend a few metres before climbing back up again. The ‘forty-foot corner’ was stowed out with ice as shown in my picture here.

Forty-Foot Corner - N.E. Buttress

We approached by Slingsby’s Chimney, which was a hard Grade IV mixed at the top pitch. This is often the case and does catch people out. Slingsby’s is only easy with a load of snow, otherwise it’s a sand-bag pitch!

Linking the First and Second Platform on N.E. Buttress
Linking ground between the first and Second Platform on N.E. Buttress

Slingsby's Chimney above the chockstone pitchSlingsby’s Chimney above the chockstone pitch.

Slingsby's Chimney, tricky mixed ground
Exiting the tricky mixed ground at the top of Slingsby’s Chimney

Hi Alan, just a quick note to thank you for sorting us out with space in the hut last week, even if the first night was spent uncomfortably on damp boards in the kitchen!

We followed your suggestion and headed for Moonlight Gully Buttress on our 1st day, set off up Neptune but found the way barred by rotten ice. We moved up right on to North Trident Buttress and after a lot of faffing on tricky mixed ground again found our way barred – just not enough ice. After a hairy little down climb we ended up abbing off into Moonlight Gully and going down feeling truly spanked.

Next day in the face of bad weather in the afternoon and with our confidence battered we went up Ledge Route.

Our final day was on Tower Scoop where we found some very good ice.

All in all a good trip, many lessons learned. That’s it for me this year, I’ll be keeping an eye on your site next season in case any beds (or floor space!) come up.

Cheers,

Rob

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