'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Glorious weather to enjoy the fruits of Ben Nevis

Almost the perfect day!

Our route Minus 3 Gulley followed by NE Buttress
Dean and I started walking in from the North Face car park at around 6.30am...Surprisingly the weather was totally different from that forecast on MWIS.  The skies were clear and the views spectacular!

We wanted to wait and see what routes other people were on before deciding our plans for the day but we had in mind the classics, Point 5 and Zero gulleys.  Unfortunately there were 3 parties on each route.  So we etched a plan to do Minus 3 Gulley and then possibly rap off and get another route in. 

My lead...First pitch caused no problems but the belay was dripping with water and I tried desperately to avoid getting everything wet.  Dean arrived at the stance and I pointed up at the ‘none icicle’ that normally forms the start of pitch 2.  However, Dean was keen to give it a go and sent it without kicking any of the delicate ice remaining in fine style.  Definitely not grade IV and with heavy rucksacks felt a lot harder.


The route is fairly sustained and has some very interesting climbing up ramps and corners amongst the gulley walls.

At the joining of Minus 3 with The North East Buttress we had to make a choice...descend or continue up the buttress. North East Buttress is described as one of the best mountaineering days out in Britain...We opted for the latter! We weren’t disappointed either....Pitch after pitch of glorious climbing, sustained throughout until we were faced with the ‘Man Trap’. A steep (possibly slightly overhanging) rock wall. Many people climb this by pulling on gear and making life easy for themselves but Dean and me managed it completely free....If you can say that when you’re pulling on ice axes.



Arriving at the summit the sun was still shining and not a soul was around...Fantastic.  The views in every direction were phenomenal!  Following a few photos, a quick descent to the Number 4 Gulley and along abseil into the gulley we were on our way down. 

The long long descent nearly broke both me and Dean...but following a bath and food were feeling better...I should say I am...Dean is fast asleep!

Good bits: The climbing, the weather, the company, mint tea and honey.

The bad bits: Sore body!!!

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