Tuesday, 14 April 2015

9th-10th April.......Ben Nevis climbing

Two Superb Days on the Ben

Castle Ridge
Over the last 4 years I've been winter climbing in Scotland 5 times and each time the weather has been "Full Scottish" I've been out in whiteouts, blizzards, hail, rain, sleet and snow.......but this time the weather gods took pity on me and we were rewarded with perfect conditions, I think I deserved this one!

Day 1:  saw us on Castle Ridge, no need for crampons on this one, a superb route, not too technical but with the odd airy belay to add to the excitement, we saw that there was still plenty of ice high up and made plans climb higher the next day.

Day 2:  an early start from the North Face car park to try and avoid any of the falling ice that would inevitably be coming down from high on the mountain as the sun did its work paid off. Only as we passed under Tower Ridge did a few bits of ice come whizzing past our ears...we didn't hang around long!!  After a long plod up the steep frozen snow we reach the base of the first pitch of Good Friday Climb (III).   The pitch is straight forward and takes you up a wide gully to the belay at base of the main pitch.  Pitch 2 is superb, 50m of near vertical water ice which could be done in 2 pitches if need be, but Ken lead all the way in great style and made short work of it.  We finished the climb by traversing across onto the final pitch of Indicator Wall which means you top out right onto the summit trig point, which is a great anchor for the belay!! and a grandstand finish..

Thanks to Ken Applegate (mountain guide) for being great company on this trip

Ken on Castle Ridge
Early sun on the lower slopes of Observatory Gully
the final approach to Good Friday Climb 
Belay below the superb 2nd pitch

Belay below the superb 2nd pitch

Ken leading the the superb 2nd pitch
Tower Ridge from Indicator Wall
Ken on the final pitch of Indicator Wall 

Ken Applegate on the slopes of Observatory Gully

Ken Applegate 

Ken Applegate an PH on the summit

6th April.........Kentmere from Haweswater

Despite the fact that it was the May bank holiday, careful route choice meant that we avoided the crowds that would inevitably be ticking off the popular routes on such a gloriously sunny day.  After parking at Haweswater we made our way onto the fell tops and meandered around looking for some good view points from which to take some big mountain images. We arrived at the summit of Ill Bell and with sun starting to get lower in the sky the light was bound to improve as the evening progressed, with the TS24mm and a 0.6 soft grad on the 6d I knocked out a couple of shots.
A great day to out, and a couple of images that might make it into next years calendar, what could be better....

Haweswater in the morning light

North from Ill Bell over Foswick to Thornthwaite Beacon