Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Orient Express FWA

Today I was up the Ben with Dave who wanted to have a rematch with Orient Express E2 5c.  He had backed off this a week ago due to poor ice/snow and poor gear.  The gear was not much better this time, but a higher terrier and some ice to aim for made the difference today.  That said it was extremely committing moving around the steep bulge into the upper groove.  Thin hooks and very poor feet made it hard to reach the ice, then hard to step up.  Dave did well to stick with it and work out the best sequence to commit to the moves, as falling off was not a good option.  Even the belay was a creative one.  The pitch was pretty nice to climb with the rope above you, thin, balancy and technical.  Not your usual pumpy winter route.  I then led through up the continuing groove which went on thin ice.  A short steep section took me to easy ground, but even this pitch was a bold affair.

The line of Orient Express
Dave picking his way up
Contemplating what's ahead
Heading into steeper ground and thin, but good ice
Psyched, Orient Express IX,8.  Due to the bold nature of the climbing we feel this reflects the route quite well.

Pics to come.

There were many teams out today.  Tower Ridge saw many ascents, New beginnings Right Hand and NE Buttress sore a few ascents also.  Mike Pescod climbed Observatory Ridge, but found very little gear.  I'm sure there were many other routes being climbed today as well.

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