An amazing and long day today, so I will keep it short. Myself, Tony and Lena headed up the Ben and climbed Minus 2 gully. When we got to the base of the route at about 7.30am there was already 4 teams waiting around at the base of Zero gully and Orion direct!
I led up the first pitch with some grade 5 steps in a tight gully which were interesting and then Tony led the 2nd longer pitch. The 3rd and 4th pitches had short steep sections of grade 5 with snow slopes below and above which made the pitches a bit quicker. With the sun coming round by early afternoon we topped out onto North East buttress. But the day was only half over.
The decent down North East buttress took just as long at the climb up. With long sections of down climbing grade 2/3 ice, a 60m ab down the ridge, a traverse off the ridge for a few hundred meters and then another shorter ab. All in it took about 3 hours for the 3 of us to get off the route. With good views back up to the buttress we walked out to the CIC hut by about 5.30pm, just in time to have some lunch!
A very good mountaineering day and a very good route, but would have been nice if it didn’t take us so long, 12 hours car to car.