|Castle Ridge and the Castle|
|Looking up Number 5 Gully|
|Tower Ridge and North East Buttress in the distance|
|The CMD Arete with Carn Mor Dearg in the distance|
|Coire Leis and North East Buttress opening to the North Face|
|Panoramic view of the North Face in all its glory|
|A close up of Number 5 Gully, with Ledge Route clearly visible on the right|
|Leaving the north Face, a cloudless sky|
Making my way up into Number 5, I was aware of some partially melted avalanche debris, and took a few minutes to look at the snow and make sure I was happy travelling up it. Given that a few days ago there was a lot of fresh avalanche debris witnessed during a rescue in Point 5 Gully, I didn't want to take any chances. Happy that I was not travelling very far into the gully, and that the pack was solid enough, I moved quickly up and across right to the foot of the starting slab of Ledge Route. I made my way up easily, enjoying the warm rock and the beating sun. The views began to open out as I got higher, giving superb views up to Tower Ridge and into the Douglas Gap, and out and over to the CMD. I eventually came to the highlight of the route, the Ledge, and took a moment to get some photos and grab a drink. Moving on, I soon found myself plodding onto the summit plateaux, perhaps a km from the summit itself.
I made my way up to the summit, somewhat surprised at how few people were actually up there given the droves I had seen heading up in recent days. The snow is still a few feet deep on the summit, wet and slippy, and I was glad that as I moved down towards the CMD arete the snow line came to an abrupt end. The arete was in glorious condition, with only a little cross wind cooling me down but not risking my balance. Again I opted to ignore the well worn path on the ridge, and stuck to the craggy rock line. The haul back up at the other end to Carn Mor Dearg was very hot, very sweaty and seemed to take ages. In reality it was very quick, and I was soon on my way down to join the North Face path and back towards the car park and the end of my day. All in all it took 5 hours 15 minutes which I think is a pretty respectable time.
I had a great day out on the hills again, hoping that this weather prevails over the weekend for the MRC of S Level 1 Rigging Course!