Today I have been shadowing Mike Pescod from Abacus Mountain Guides. He has four days of private guiding booked in with returning client Andreas and today Mike was keen to start off with some Ben Nevis ice by climbing Minus Two Gully (V,5). 

Approaching the Minus Face

Approaching the Minus Face

First pitch....

First pitch….

Mike making steady progress on Minus Two Gully

Mike making steady progress on Minus Two Gully

Getting to the route proved a little hazardous, negotiating large deposits of windslab sitting ontop of an icy crust that Hannah and I encountered last week. Mike managed it with caution and soon we were stood under a pretty rocky looking first pitch. Sure enough the initial 15m or so proved to be quite thin and bold but once a step left was made the quantity of ice improved, the higher we got the better the quality. Four big pitches of amazing ice climbing later we were on NE Buttress ready to make an abseil descent toward Slingsby’s Chimney and back down under the minus face. The spindrift was full on, mouthfuls (an eyefuls) of snow were consumed by everyone but its all part of the experience! Andreas looked to be enjoying his return to Scottish winter climbing and I had a super day watching Mike in action – Ben Nevis delivers again!

Bouts of spindrift blowing in all directions most of the day

Bouts of spindrift blowing in all directions most of the day

A quality pitch!

A quality pitch!

Getting ready to descend.......

Getting ready to descend…….

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Yesterday I had a day working in the Ice Factor for Lochaber Guides. Prashant was visiting from Newcastle for the weekend and had big plans for the CMD arête but with a poor forecast he settled for Stob Ban Saturday guided by Dave then yesterday I got the pleasure of introducing him to indoor wall and ice climbing. We started with the basics and quickly progressed to climbing before getting technical ascending free hanging ropes using jumars and gri-gri’s. Another superb and rewarding day.

Working on movement

Working on movement

Enjoying some ice

Enjoying some ice

Learning the 'ropes'

Learning the ‘ropes’