Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tower Ridge, Number 4 progress and Ledge Route

Today I was back out with John for the second of his 6 day mountaineering/climbing/getting wet course.  We decided to head onto Ben Nevis as John had never climbed the mighty North Face, only the CMD arête   So we headed up to the CIC hut through drizzle and light winds to be met by yet more drizzle and light winds.  Cloud was covering the summits but was high enough for us to scope out the other possibilities for the future and I showed John where some of the famous winter lines are.  I did wish for a moment, that everything was covered in snow.  We headed up around the Douglas Boulder and on to the ridge proper where we made quite a steady ascent.  Through out the whole walk in and ascent we didn't see a soul until we got onto the plateau.   My wish did come true, well maybe a little bit, as we were greeted by some snow from below the Great Tower.  After topping out we wandered over to the summit like two drunks kicked out of a pub as visibility was very poor and the rocks were very greasy.  This was perfect conditions as John wanted to brush up on his navigation.  So from the summit we put together strategies to make a safe and direct journey to the top of Ledge Route.  This gave John an opportunity to get his navigation in order before he heads out on his own for his solo days in the winter, a wise thing to do for all you hill goers.  Make sure you can navigate well in summer before you go out in winter!  We bumped into a nice chap who was building the new Number 4 Gully cairn, its looking great and is a vast improvement on the old post!  Still a bit more work to be done.  We made a slippy descent of Ledge Route and went to the pub for beers and food.  A great day out in less than optimal weather.

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