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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Really nice mixed climbing - pity about the wind!

A clear day with a drop in temperature following yesterdays brief thaw. The winds were also forecast to drop later in the day so the climbing conditions looked promising and they were.
On the walk in we met and chatted to Jonathan P who was heading towards Twin Ribs with  his two clients. We last bumped into JP in Spain climbing on Puig Campana about three weeks ago!!
We also met Karl and his mate gearing up for a stroll up Central Gully. Later at the foot of Red Gully we met Davie V heading towards Western Rib Direct. Chadder's was in the coire for a quick hit too and photos of the Mess of Pottage area are on his blog here.
With a reasonable forecast it was fairly busy for a Tuesday with teams on many of the popular classics.
We fancied climbing Fingers Ridge although it was windy and had party already half way up the route.
We set off to climb the ridge which compared to last week now had some excellent consolidated snow on it. The enjoyable climbing conditions were spoilt by the gusty wind which every so often blew Fi off her feet! The wind got even stronger around 13.00 hrs just when we caught up with the team in front.
The guys in front were still approaching the fingers and were having problems with the constant wind buffeting!. Fortunately the axe and crampon placements in the snow ice were reliable enough to prevent them and us from being completely blown off. Most (but not all!) of  the loose blocks on Fingers Ridge were well frozen and provided reliable anchors.
Rather than hang about in the strong gusts a quick bypass move was in order and this got us safely by on the left and up onto the plateau in good time. More details and photos on Fi's blog here
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