Pitching the 'zag' on Ledge Route
The clouds stayed away today and we were back to our usual alpine conditions. Joe & Tom were keen to put everything they'd learned in to practice so we headed back up to the Ben and the classic Ledge Route (II). We delayed our departure by climbing the ice direct to the first 'Zig'. This allowed a couple of teams of 'death ropers' to get clear although Max Hunter also had a few issues with them.
Note - moving together with 15-20m of rope between you and no running belays is called death roping for a reason. It doesn't make you safer and will have a very negative effect on the health of everyone in your party if one of you were to fall, not to mention anyone else you may cheese wire on the way down!
Our direct start gave 40m of grade III ice to get the blood pumping before the boys took over. They used a combination of pitching and a variety of moving together techniques to make an excellent and safe ascent while I soloed alongside enjoying the views and the sunshine. I have 8 days work left this season which coincidentally looks like how long this stunning high pressure system is due to last :)
Clouds rolling off the summit of the Ben
Joe gaining the sun after a chilly belay
Direct belay on the crux of Ledge Route (II)
Topping out on Ledge Route
Stunning views from Carn Dearg