Saturday, 5 March 2011

Comb Gully Buttress

Crossing the central snowfield on Comb Gully Buttress (IV 4)

After two big days on the Ben with ascents of Tower Ridge and North east Buttress on consecutive days we went back up again looking for ice in the colder temperatures. The conditions meant everyone else was also heading up high looking for the limited ice but our choice of Comb Gully Buttress (IV 4) was still free. This is a route I've often looked at but never seen anyone on. In the event it gave a perfect end to the week offering four pitches of absorbing climbing and deserves to be far more popular. The first short icefall was steep but led to a good belay towards the bottom of the central snowfield. Easy snow slopes then led leftwards to the base of a grade III gully. The meat of the route was the top pitch which gave 55m of steep grade IV+ ice to a sudden exit on to the plateau. A quick descent down Number 4 Gully and the opportunity to reflect on a week of cllassic Grade IV & V ice and mixed routes. This week I've been working for Adventure Peaks.

Exiting the gully on pitch 3

Teams on the Cascade (V 5)

Patricia approaching the belay at the end of pitch 3

Tower Ridge from the Ben Nevis plateau