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Monday, 5 January 2009

Fresh snow and socks in the gullies!

It felt bitterly cold this morning walking into the stronger than expected south easterly wind. This had led to considerable drifting of the snow from the plateau and fresh cornice buildup on our intended gully line.
A good opportunity to look at avalanche assessment and safe travel techniques between islands of safety. The approach slopes were initially pretty deep and slabby but from previous experience I thought it was worth having a further look at the gully.
My hunch was right and I was relieved to find that the fresh snow was only between 10 and 15 cm at it's deepest and with good solid neve below for the axes and crampons in the actual gully line.
The next worry was the cornice but I could just make out the line of steps from the other day so it too wasn't looking that bad.
We then climbed on up between the good rock anchors which was fine until James mentioned his foot was coming out of is boot - and it really was!
Once he was tied off I down climbed then cut a ledge to sort his footwear out. The moral is please remember to do up your boot laces tightly when climbing steep snow with crampons...!
Despite the delay everyone including James (I think?) enjoyed the climb.
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