Today I was out with Rob and working for Abacus Mountain Guides. Last year I took Rob up Hadrians Wall and Harrisons Climb, this year he was keen for another classic grade V and having climbed Orion Direct yesterday with Matt we thought Zero Gully (V,4) would be another highly prized tick.
We had a slightly earlier start to try and make use of the frost that settled lastnight but it made no difference. There appeared to be an inversion so it was still very warm above the CIC Hut level. Zero was slushy and pretty insecure at times especially on the first pitch. This made for some exciting climbing especially as you couldn’t entirely weight a single axe or foot placement, it was an effort to try and be delicate but meaningful above rubbish protection. Even though a team was a couple of pitches ahead, we felt there was a considerable amount of debris falling around us. We watched Mike retreating from Orions only to learn later that he had been hit in the face by falling ice. Another team started up Slav Route but soon retreated towards Orions. Somehow I am a Black Diamond Ice Screw short, if anyone finds one in the area, I would love to have it back.
Guy was climbing on Indicator Wall and Matt & Ian on Gardyloo Buttress, both reporting much better conditions. Theres allot of ice still to go at, we just need a proper cold spell to firm it all up again. Teams were also on Point Five, Hadrian’s Wall and Tower Ridge.