Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Day to Day Mixed Climbing

After a very disappointing winter season, Craig and Mark were off for some rock action but optimistically (after recent reports) took some winter kit 'just in case'!!

Saturday saw a visit to the HS Ardverikie Wall with 4 pitches of fun climbing in a stunning location.  Craig led the hero pitch 1 with a long run-
out on beautiful grippy microgranite; he ran the first 2 pitches together but it seemed the obvious thing to do.

Craig high on P1
Mark coming up P1 slab
Mark ran the flake pitch with a tricky move or two as well as the 4th pitch which was a bit wet and slippy.

Mark moving onto the Flake pitch
Nonetheless, a super climb in cold conditions - snow counts as cold I believe!!  They topped the peak and took a direct line to the car and pizza in the Grog and Gruel.

Overnight in the NF carpark (slumdog disco-life and a nice Rioja with Pringles) saw them second guessing the weather for rock or a Ben classic ridge...low cloud dictated the Ben and crampons with a single tech axe saw them head for Tower Ridge.

It's never a short day on the Ben and the walk in was cold, windy and long but a pleasant chat with folks at the hut saw them heading for the ridge past the Gap.  Sans axe and crampons until the start of the Little Tower saw good progress with careful footwork on the rock.  Thereafter crampons made sense and things a bit easier.

Mark on the Eastern Traverse
The snow was fairly well frozen in places with reasonable hard compacted snow and one wouldn't want to cross the traverse without crampons on.  We Gap itself was as good as snow free but the exit slopes were well covered.  They then headed for No 4 Gully and dropped down for an escape to the car and home.

Looking back onto Tower Gap
A great adventure weekend with a real contrast in climbing styles but both days definitely Type 1 fun.