31 March 2012
Craig and Bill headed for Kirroughtree for round 1 of the SXC race calender (www.sxc.org.uk) and I headed to Ben Nevis for a lap of Tower Ridge. This gives 1000m of climbing (Mod summer grade and IV,3*** Winter grade) over 500m ascent and is the most famous of all the Nevis ridges. With the new path I was at the top car park in 28mins and the SMC hut in 1hr 22 mins. The rain turned to light snow as I climbed the first 20m groove/chimney out of Douglas Gully to the ridge proper. In the mist I heard two teams above and knew that as I was soloing I would quickly catch them. Rope one was two lads from Fife and rope 2 was two RAF lads from Leuchars. Crampons and an axe was need for the Eastern Traverse as the neve was bomber hard. Being on my own I clipped the 'controversial tat' at Tower Gap as the snow was lying, the rocks slippy and my hands cold. I bridged the gap, un-clipped and made the committing pull across with the drop of Glover's chimney puling at my heals. Crampons and axe again needed for the exit to the plateau in 3hrs 45mins.
Gear off, I head for the zig zags, the red burn and sprinted past the Halfway Lochan, picking up the path and arriving with a jog back at the car in 5hrs 41 mins. Another Epic Day...
|SMC Hut, Douglas Boulder & Tower Ridge with The North East Buttress on the horizon|
|Looking back to the Douglas Boulder from the lower part of the ridge|
|Happy face but cold hands...|
|The infamous arete leading to Tower Gap|
|From the Gap looking down Glover's Chimney (Grade III,4**)|
|RAF boys bringing up the rear...|
|And the sun comes out on the TAB back to the car, typical.|