Friday, 13 March 2015

CIC Hut Week

Despite the poor weather forecast for the week, it has been a very productive course, with muchos sendarge!!  Andy and Alex were hoping to tick off a number of routes between grade IV and VI if conditions allowed. We had the plan to keep an open mind and to work around the forecast to give ourselves the best chance of success.

Sunday started pretty well.  We walked in mid morning and dropped off our kit at the hut.  A quick turn around took us up into Observatory Gully, where we climbed Hadrian's Wall Direct V, 5***.  Not a bad start.  

The forecast for Monday was poor, but a small window early morning gave the chance to do something before it hit.  The first of a few 4 am wake ups, got us out early and up an excellent Two Step Corner V, 5 *** and back to the hut before the weather peaked.
Alex approaching the first belay on hero ice

Spindrift getting worse with the weather moving in

A great forecast for Tuesday took us back up to Number 3 Gully Buttress and up the classic Gargoyle Wall VI, 6 ***.  A first grade VI for both and in outstanding icy condition, made it a bold proposition.  Every pitch delivered in quality and value, making it a great experience.  We climbed Rien ne vu Plus V, 5  on the way back to the hut to top off a Stunning day.
Andy enjoying quality Ben Nevis Icy mixed

Starting up an extremely icy Gargoyle Cracks

Andy looking glad to be near the belay

Alex fully engaged

More super icy and bold climbing on the top chimney

Wednesday required another 4am wake up.  We were rewarded with outstanding conditions and a glorious morning on Vade Mecum V, 5 ***.  This is and excellent climb and not often in, so a real steal on the day.
Andy cruising up pitch 1 of Vade Mecum

Alex staying relaxed on the very steep crux of Vade Mecum

After another 4am wake up on Thursday, the gamble didn't pay off.  Blown out by the really strong winds as we tried to approach a route,  we had to concede.  Patience and commitment won through though as we nipped out at 16:15 and did Italian Right Hand IV, 4***.  This felt like a real victory after the mornings efforts.
When the weathers bad, BAKE!! Blair kindly bringing supplies on his was to SAIS Forecasting 
A close second to the climbing this week
Today we climbed Point 5 V, 5***, which was not in the best conditions for the leader.  Poor ice and crud made it a serious outing. The amazing weather helped make up for it though.  After a bit of food and drink in the sunshine on the summit, we nipped down Number 3 Gully and climbed Winter Cascade IV, 5*.  This was in excellent condition, with some great steep ice to finish off a great weeks climbing.
one of the rare sections with good ice on Point 5 today

Alex through the Narrows
Andy enjoying the Point 5 experience

Through the Rogue Pitch and on the glory

Stunning ice on a fat Winter Cascade

Stunning views on top

Alex romping down No.3

A stunning end to a challenging, but great week.

Once I get back to a computer, I'll add some pictures.   Big thanks to Andy and Alex for there efforts to make this such a great week.

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