There is a route that runs up the nose of the Douglas Boulder that I have been wanting to climb all season. It just so happened that today it was the only black bit of rock on the whole of the North Face so Hannah and I changed plans (a few times) before ending up on the excellent Gutless (IV,6).
We swung leads up four pitches of climbing, which was a more relaxing way (than of late) to spend a day out on the hill. I fancied the second pitch which takes in a 40m chimney and provides fun climbing until a delicate break out right leads to steep snow ice. Hannah then led through up an nice icy ramp that joins the South West Ridge. Here we ran out a quick pitch before abseiling back down into West Gully.
Lots of other people out enjoying the calm weather. Mike was also on Gutless with a client before heading over to Vanishing Gully, Dave and Andy climbed Jacknife as did Nathan and Cormac. Lots of teams climbing the Curtain and a slushy Vanishing Gully, one team looked like they were on Stringfellow and several others on Waterfall Gully. Mega Route X looks good from afar but there was nobody on it today even though footsteps run to its base. The Shroud has touched down in two places, the left hand cigar looks big enough to climb, Boomers and Harrison’s also look good from a distance. Ice routes seem to be the way on Ben Nevis at the moment, we got upto the crux pitch of Cutlass but it was flowing with solid ice making it unprotectable. As we left we got a peek into Observatory, lots of good looking blue ice up there but might still be quite tricky to get to them given the avalanche forecast.