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Pedal to the Metal: Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis

Clear skies above Ben Nevis this morning, on our way to Tower Ridge.

Clear skies above Ben Nevis this morning.

I was out with Wes today, and with the choice of mid grade routes being limited, we decided to go for Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, a route he’s done in summer, but not yet in winter.  I knew from the start that a) conditions would be a bit tricky, with so much unconsolidated snow about, and b) it could be busy, so we had an early-ish start and kept the pedal on the metal all day.  Luckily, Wes is the sort of chap that likes to push himself.  We walked in with clear views to the summit, which we thought would remain with us for longer than they did.

Conditions on the route were a bit awkward, which is a bit of theme at the moment, with plenty of unconsolidated snow, making the going a bit tougher than usual I.e. hard to find axe placements.  But we kept the pace up throughout the day, and soon found ourselves at the Eastern Traverse, as the weather closed in a bit.  The traverse isn’t banked out yet, so whilst gear is hard to find with the amount of rime and snow about, it’s fairly straight forward, however, the Fallen Block Chimney is not quite buried, but would be tight enough that a big step out right is required.

Wes enjoyed Tower Gap, but perhaps more in retrospect, and was happy to finally find some névé to pull on in the exit gully.  A grand day out.  Plenty of teams on Ledge Route, at least one other on Tower Ridge, and one brave team heading onto Point 5 Gully, which was a torrent of spindrift in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Matt was out with Oli in Stob Coire nan Lochan, where they climbed a snowy Raeburn’s Route.

Oli swimming up Raeburn's Route

Oli swimming up Raeburn’s Route

and Phil & Lucy (our neighbors) were out too enjoying a snowy School House Ridge on Sgorr Bhan.