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Friday, 19 April 2013

Great weather and April winter climbing...

Sunny and calm with good firm well banked snow for climbing in Jacob's Ladder and then finishing on Jacob's Edge to avoid the large cornices.
Giancarlo was keen to climb Jacob's Ladder and as the forecast looked promising for Friday we arranged to meet and have a look. In contrast to the past few days of strong winds and heavy precipitation it was calm and sunny. After yesterday's heavy rain, wind and snow on the hilI I was a bit worried that there might have been too much fresh snow and windslab.
After breaking trail on the softer snow on the approach everything turned out fine as it firmed up and provided good firm snow and ice climbing.
There was some evidence of old cornice collapse from mid-week but nothing massive. Despite the warmer temperatures during the past week the cornices are still pretty big. Sensible route choice is still essential but as a bonus there were no other climbers in the coire - which was great!

We climbed the first few pitches of Jacob's Ladder and then headed up the completely banked out upper gully left wall to finish on Jacob's Edge. This avoided the worst of the cornices and gave good protection as long as you have a more traditional axe or wire coathanger!
The final pitch weaving though little rock outcrops was in the sun and  had a couple of  really fun Grade 2 icy steps protected by bomber thread runners.

It all felt very alpine and Giancarlo and I were absolutely delighted.... :-) More general winter condition photos on the Facebook album here and YouTube video here.
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