Late season ice on The Ben

‘I’ve got a couple of days holiday left, you still keen for winter climbing?’

The daffodils were blooming, Southern England was basking in sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20’s and we were back on the M74 heading north late in the evening. It was shortly before 9pm and only the fading twilight signalled that the depths of winter had long past. Yet winter on The Ben was far from over. As in most years, April can be a magical month to climb snow & ice routes on Britain’s highest mountain and this year has been no exception.

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Ben Nevis in April. Seen from the CIC hut.

 

Hadrians Wall Direct (V,5)

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Chris outside the CIC hut.

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Working my way up the first pitch of Hadrians Wall Direct

 

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Me high on Hadrians Wall Direct, Point 5 on the far right.

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Looking down pitch one to Chris

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Chris overcoming the bulging ice on pitch two

 

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Chris enjoying perfect placements on pitch one

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Me with burning calves on the upper snowfields nearing the summit

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At the summit shelter on Ben Nevis

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Chris coiling the ropes after dispatching Hadrians.

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Spring returns on the descent

 

Smith’s Route (V,5)

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After Twenty plus years since watching ‘On the Edge’ – finally on Smiths Route

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Staring down pitch one of Smiths

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Chris followed by one of the few other teams out that day

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Chris in the ice cave at the top of pitch one of Smiths Route

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Is it steeper than it looks? Try cutting Steps! Chris on pitch two

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The difficulties over, heading for the summit

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Me tackling the final summit headwall….perfect neve

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Me on the summit, peering over the corniced edge

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Chris nearing the top of Smith’s Route. Tower Ridge behind.

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Mission accomplished. Me and Chris after climbing Smith’s Route.

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Sunshine and snow on Ben Nevis

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Just about packed up and ready to go home

 

 

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About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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