Today I was observing Spike Sellers working for West Coast Mountain Guides on Tower ridge on the Ben. An early start was decided so we met at 7am and headed for the top car park. Spike was guiding Paul who had wanted to do the ridge for a while. After making our way up to the CIC hut in good time we headed up Observatory gully before gearing up.
I wanted to learn about the thought process of when to pitch harder rock sections, short roping or moving together. Tower ridge is great for this as the grade of climbing varies a lot as you move along. It was interesting to see where an experienced guide belayed and what sort of information was offered at certain point on a route that I know well.
After moving up the little tower we had a spot of lunch at the eastern traverse. Next was the gap which needs to be dealt with by clients down climbing first into the gap and then the guide leap frogging over and on up the ridge. It was made a little more interesting with a light shower coming over.
We topped out at 2pm after 4 hours on the ridge and made our decent down to the car via the pony track.