Washing Machine

Martyns' hole in the cornice

Martyn and myself headed up to Aonach Mor today for a bit of climbing. It was very windy on the gondola and as a result the chair lift was closed, so we resined ourselves to the extended walk up to the top. Once there it wasn’t any better with viability at a minimum and the wind about 40 miles/hr we headed to easy gully. After walking along the base of the crag we decided on Icicle gully as our route of the day. After much searching in the cloud and spin drift we thought we had found it. I headed up the first pitch which was steeper than expected going at about IV,4, brought Martyn up and he lead off.

Still not sure we were on the right route the second pitch went at about grade 2/3 and headed towards the cornice. Martyn did a good job of getting through and we topped out into the same conditions as we started. After reading the guide book again the route we went up could have been Molar canal but still not sure.

The general snow conditions were good going down easy gully and along the base of the crag. On the climb there was a large amount of rime build up over all the rocks and existing snow, once removed some good ice was exposed beneath. The cornice was not too large and manageable. To increase our fitness Nevis Range decided to shut the gondola due to the high wind so we trudged our way back to the car. An unexpectedly long day in all.

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