18 November 2012
Craig and Mark had an early start to Fort William with a plan to climb North East Buttress. 24hrs of snow made the Ben look wintery but it didn’t feel all that cold. As we passed a deserted CIC hut we decided that conditions were not really “in” for NEB so opted for Tower Ridge instead.
Getting to the bottom of the route involved some ”interesting” soloing up deeply snow covered un-bonded rock held in place with non-frozen turf.
Once on the ridge it was obvious the snow had no base and conditions were tricky , but we pressed on till we were wading waist deep in places beneath the little tower. The wind got up, it started snowing heavily, and both of us had that gut feeling of impending doom. We bailed with a couple of abseils and picked our way back down to the hut via an incredibly laden Easy Gully but thankfully the snow was sufficiently wet to hold together well.
We met Spike and his mate who had climbed and boarded down no 4 gully-good effort.
A speed walk out saw us back at the north face car park feeling the effects of a long day. Notwithstanding our bail, this was a fine day underpinned by determination and good decisions...fight another day :)