Today, myself and Hannah went up Castle ridge on the Ben. We met up with Emma and Johnathan (my boss and her partner) and all headed for the same route. The sky was clear and the temperature was cold all day. There is a lot of rime ice on the higher buttresses above about 900m, but due to the consistent cold temperatures there hasn’t really been a good set of thaw, freeze cycles, so the snow is very soft and light, rather than consolidated.
At the base of the route we passed a pair of Spaniards (who are probably just on their way down now) and moved together over the easier sections. We then came to the first of the 2 harder corners, and I won rock, paper, scissors, so I headed up. There was good gear and good placements for the feet and axes, all be it under a lot of loose snow.
We then made our way along to the base of the main crux corner and Hannah headed up, with a short slabby start then a steeper chimney section, she made good progress to the top. I left the gear in for Emma and John and we headed along the narrower section of the ridge to the top.
A good first route of the winter, in perfect weather.