Wednesday, 9 January 2013

No.2 Gully And We Even Climbed Some Ice, Honest!

Morning dusting

Rhys, Karen and I made the long walk up the Ben to climb No.2 Gully and see what else is about.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a fresh dusting on NE Buttress down to the start of Slingsby's Chimney.  Tower Ridge had a similar dusting, but it was still quite warm.  The snow quality had massively improved from recent days, and was generally firm, getting even better with height.  I was very surprised with the amount of ice that was still hanging around.  The start of Comb Gully Buttress had enough Ice to climb the first pitch (but how attached I would not like to say), cloud made it impossible to see what was higher up.  The looked to be ice on Raeburn's Easy Route, but not as thick as most would like.  All signs point to a promising return with the colder weather.

Busy in No.2
We romped up No.2, but made a detour out of the Narrows when I saw how much ice was on the left wall. Having not taken any ice screws (ERROR!) it might have limited what we could do.  However, some of the ice was not good enough for screws higher up, so it didn't really matter.  We climbed a great 20m pitch of grade IVish to a good belay, then another short ice step before running on to the top.  It was a great way to end the gully and put some of the skills covered yesterday into practice.

Exiting our ice variation
The temperature at the top was just about freezing with our jackets trying to whiten and the top 50-100m trying to rime.  None of the turf I encountered was frozen though.

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