Wow, what a contrast today was compared to the past few days/weeks/months. Dot, Steve and I enjoyed a completely still and cloudless walk-in to Ben Nevis, something that seems to be a rarity at the moment. We also all had a day off, which too seems to be a rarity at the moment. With a few options in mind we walked into Coire na Ciste, but on seeing the avalanche debris and amount of snow and potential windslab on the N/NW aspects, we decided to have a look at a direct version of Pinnacle Arete (a route that non of us had climbed before, or the original line for that matter).
The first pitch was as per the original line, which Steve led, however, the direct variation, which isn’t really much more direct than the original line, forks left and sticks more to the crest, and made it’s way up a short, pokey pitch which involved tenuous climbing on awkward slabs and not the greatest of axe placements, which I led, before Steve took over and thugged his way up an awkward, short, steep but well protected off-width chimney, with good axe placements on the few small chockstones. Overall V,6/7?
This brought us out above The Clanger, from where quite a bit of easier ground (grade II/III) took us to the plateau. The clag did come in during the afternoon, but considering the weather of late, it was a very pleasant day to be out, and possibly a second ascent of the direct variation.
A few other teams out and about, on West Gully of the Douglas Boulder, Tower Ridge, Green Gully, what looked to be the upper pitches of The Banshee and Slab Climb.