Yesterday Rich and I went for a wander around Ben Nevis to see what good ice was left to climb. There was no definitive plan but when we watched groups of climbers walking into Observatory area we went for a much quieter Coire na Ciste. Visibility was around 25 meters for most of the day as mist and clag meant high humidity and an ever degrading snowpack.
Rich and I ended up underneath the Cascade (IV,4), which we climbed just behind Ken and his team giving a great 45m pitch of steep, fat ice. After this we went out left, underneath the ‘Pink Panther’ and towards the Upper Cascade which although complete looked very thin after the steep initial section. In the mist it was very hard to decide if it was going to be suicide or not so we soloed back over the Experts Choice (III,4) which was excellent and a real gem for the grade.
Yesterday evening a body was found at the mouth of Observatory Gully and later a further body, before both being recovered by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. It is thought they are the two missing climbers Tim Newton and Rachel Slater. Today Ben Nevis is enduring a typical Scottish storm, fitting given this recent news.