Mike and Lawrence have been coming to Scotland for several years and have enjhoyed trips to Skye and Glen Coe for things such as Curved Ridge. This year they wanted to push it up a notch so we decided on Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis as the best objective. We also had a great forecast so we decided to make as much of it as we could and we ended up doing a brilliant circuit of Coire na Ciste.
We started up the SW Ridge of Douglas Boulder. Since this is such a popular winter climb now, some of the loose rock has been removed and the solid rock is getting cleaner. I remember climbing this route about 12 years ago and found it quite loose and slippery but now it is quite pleasant. There are plenty of loose blocks in places but not so many to make it uncomfortable. The cloud was coming and going all day but we got a wonderful view from the top of all the crags on the North Face.
Once we got to Douglas Gap we caught up with a couple of other teams going up Tower Ridge as well. However Mike and Lawrence were moving really well so we moved together all the way up the Little Tower and kept well ahead of everyone else. When the rock is dry and grippy it is a delight to climb. Tower Gap was fun and the last little section got us to the top and the long line of people on the Pony Track. With plenty of time left we went over to Carn Dearg and went down Ledge Route, roping up just for the wet slab at the bottom just before getting into Number Five Gully. So the ciruit of Coire nas Ciste is great fun and covers a lot of delightful rock. Is there anything to beat it on a brilliant day like today?
Ben Nevis Race day tomorrow - good luck to all the runners!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.