Stunning weather and conditions on Ben Nevis yesterday! I met up with Kevin Hall, Iain 'Cheese' Rudkin, Caspar Mckeever and James McKenna at the North Face car park and had a very sociable walk in catching up!
We all decided to head for Carn Dearg - Caspar and James went for the classic Harrison's Direct, while Cheese, Kev and I went for Boomer's Requiem. Boomer's was great, we soloed up pitch one which was probably about grade III which took us to the main pitch. This pitch is steep and the ice took screws but not ones I'd have wanted to hang my bag on, let alone fall on to! However the ice was 'chewy' and felt very secure with axes - a very steep pitch of V. The next pitch is about grade IV and leads to the end of the difficulties. We wanted to get in another route so abseiled back to the bottom in 3 long abs from here.
The Shroud is right next door to Boomer's and looked brilliant - albeit slightly terrifying! After looking at it for a bit Cheese announced that he was keen to give it a go. As I got the crux on Boomer's it was Kev's lead for the first pitch. This was a super picturesque pitch with perfect blue skies and was solid grade V - a very cool lead from Kev as the ice near the top was a bit cruddy. Once we were all up pitch one and safely out of the way of any potential debris Cheese set off on a rising traverse to reach the pillar...it looked hard! Even seconding this pitch was going to be tough! Cheese looked super calm all the way but once he got to the pillar realised that the next couple of moves to get established on the icicle were thin and were likely to lead to his foot holds breaking off...not ideal. After a bit of thought Cheese made the call not to push things - a wise decision. He managed to get a sling around the back of some of the ice and then proceeded to down climb back to the belay, removing the ice screws he had placed on the way - a very strong performance!
We decided from the belay that we could continue up the rest of Harrison's Direct, a 3 star classic grade IV. From the top of the difficulties on this route we could reach the abseil points of Boomer's Requiem and return to our bags.
Another great day out with great people and great weather! It was a bit milder and wet today so no climbing sadly. I also seem to be developing some man-flu...I'm off to the alps skiing on Saturday so plan to take it easy for the rest of the week!