Yesterday Tony, Martyn, Dennis and myself headed up the Ben for a climb together. Cutless was the route decided upon as it was low down, short, and facing the correct aspect on the Douglas Boulder. There was lots of fresh snow blowing around on the walk in and I think all of us were looking forward to a short but hard day with the conditions.
Never having climbing in a 4 I was doubtful about how efficient it would be. However it work out well: with Tony on the lead with double ropes bringing up Dennis and myself. I then belayed Tony on the next pitch whilst Dennis brought up Martyn. A real team effort to make it a efficient as possible. Tony lead the crux pitch well and we all made our way up successfully. With a little interesting corner on the final pitch giving a last bit of interesting climbing.
A belay was rigged and I descended into West gully. However having short ropes I couldn’t get all the way down. I dug a hasty pit and decided it was best to wait until Dennis came down with the ends so I could be safe the whole way down. With lots of spin drift constantly blowing around there was almost continuous slufs of snow running down the gully. We eventually all made it back to the hut after another ab to get the bags.
The short day turned into a long day. Reaching the van at 6.30pm we tried our best to move it but unsuccessfully, so resided ourselves to the walk back to Nevis Range to my car. All in 10.5 hr day. Not the short day we had planned.
There is good solid ice building up in the corner of the crux and very helpful frozen turf where you want it. Routes look good at the moment, just have to pick your area.