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Thursday, 17 February 2011

A real weather gift!

After all the unsettled weather today was a real gift from god - Morris is a man of the cloth and an Archdeacon!
It was quiet calm and sunny with an easy walk in and surprisingly good firm snow in the gullies.

I'd original postponed my climb with Morris in the hope that the weather would improve and it really did! Morris wanted to try something harder than the grade 1 needed for his winter ML and he did ;-)
The snow had consolidated a lot quicker than expected and the avalanche risk had reduced too. A lot of the routes are now well banked up and the first pitch of Patey's is now on steep snow as the short chimney start is buried.
Originally I'd thought that only the NE aspects would have been climbable but condition were a lot better than expected. We ended up climbing a buttress route 'Terms of Endearment' on the other side of the corrie rather than 'Invernookie'. We realised a guided party lead by Dave heading up towards Patey's Route weren't swimming up to their armpits so the snow must be better than expected!
Our mixed route was fun but required a lot of snow clearing off the slabby rock and to find gear placements. Morris isn't a climber but an experience hillwalker and scrambler and did really well to second the mixed pitches without cheating as I found them tricky. We then continued up the Mirror and Aladdin's Couloir on really nice snow with absolutely no cornice problems!
From our vantage point we saw climbers on the Mirror Direct, Patey's Route, The Seam and Opening Break but nobody had ventured into Jacob's Ladder judging by the huge cornice!
The views from the completely plastered white plateau were stunning. Some very large cornices especially so on NW aspects
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