Great conditions on Ben Nevis today. Surprisingly we seen just three other teams out on the hill, some aiming high in the Ciste, others choosing to climb lovely pitches of ice in Garadh Gully and even lower down in the gully beneath Fat Boy Slim. We have lost some of the low lying ice on the CIC Cascades and routes such as The Curtain however, ice routes high up are forming really well, some of which might be worth a punt in the near future.
Graeme and I had a plan to escape strong westerly winds by heading round into Observatory Gully, we choose right. The wind wasn’t howling as forecast which meant it was quite benign being sheltered by Tower Ridge, with nobody else around it felt so quiet for a Saturday on The Ben. We opted for The Great Chimney which as the guidebook suggests felt like top end IV/V in powdery conditions. I even wore full Goretex for the imminent rain and snow but it just never came – lots of spindrift though! The route certainly didn’t disappoint with a lovely initial pitch followed by a bold but equally as good second to finish on Tower Ridge, which we descended followed by West Gully. The tat at the top of the Douglas Chimney has been cut since the summer so now there is a nice sling and carabiner sat there for anyone else with similar plans. What a great wee route, one which I highly recommend for a quality short day on the hill.