We had a beautiful sunny day on Saturday with a frost that lingered in the shade all day. Then on Sunday it snowed - it was only a little light snow but we'll take anything at the moment. So Tower Ridge felt a bit more wintry today, especially as there was another frost over night and wee dribbles of ice had formed in the grass and on the rocks. It was clear this morning but cloud came in progressively as the day went on, a sign of the approaching weather front that will cross over tonight.
All the old snow is hard frozen and there are many patches of ice hiding under the fresh cover of snow so we put the crampons on before we started the climbing. Steve and I are climbing with Kevin, Jon, Luke and Dean who are all very strong rock climbers but who have done very little in winter conditions. I decided we were best off making the most of the best of the three days on Tower Ridge to enjoy this super classic route at its best. It also gave the guys lots of great practice with the crampons. It is quite awkward using crampons on rocks like today but the guys moved very well with precise and accurate footwork so we made it up in good time.
Along the way we looked at ways to make the climbing super slick and efficient. We moved together for much of the route, placing anchors and using natural anchors to make us secure. We changed to pitched climbing on the Little Tower and around the Great Tower but there are many ways to make this go really smoothly as well. On the summit it was a bit breezy and cloudy so we just went straight over to Number Four Gully and down climbed this. There is no cornice here and it is very well stepped all the way down the snow which runs all the way to the lochans in Core na Ciste. So it was a great climb with lots of learning and it even felt quite wintry.
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.