Twenty five years ago James walked up Ben Nevis and looked across the North Face from the summit. You get a great view straight through Tower Gap and he saw some climbers making their way across. He thought you'd have to mad to do something like that. Today, he saw the view from the other perspective and, for the people looking from the summit, he was that mad person climbing Tower Ridge. So, this climb of Tower Ridge was 25 years in the making and it was done to raise funds for Cancer Research, a cause that deserves all the support it can get.
I had a cancellation this week which meant I could be a bit flexible with which day to go climbing with James. This worked out well - we had Tuesday booked, changed it to Thursday, then changed again to today. Thankfully this worked out and we got the best day of the week by far. It was cool and cloudy as we walked in but the sun came out half way up the ridge and we walked down in hot sunshine. James climbed really well and we got to the top in quick time, even with a few stops to enjoy the view.
A little mist swirled around the summit crags to show us the gullies and buttresses. The rock was dry and the views tremendous. There were a few other climbers out on Raeburn's Arete, Route One Direct and Ledge Route. There were several hundred people enjoying the good conditions on the summit as well, and the path was a continuous line of people walking up and down.
There was a huge amount of old rope, slings and tat at Tower Gap. I cleaned up all of this and half filled my rucksack with it. In the past I have got into trouble for doing this - it has been suggested that I want to make the route harder so that more people will book a guide. This is nonsense and I don't mind anyone leaving behind a bit of rope or a sling if they need to abseil. However, there is no need for subsequent climbers to keep on adding more rope and slings to it. Climbers should be able to assess the state of a sling and either use it or replace it, not simply add to it. We need to keep our playground clean and tidy, which is why I tidied up today.
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.