So my day started at 4.15am and it takes a lot to get me out of bed at that time of day. But with the goal of Point 5 gully on Ben Nevis it was a good enough reason. On the walk in we made good progress but as we started to make our way up Observatory gully to the base of the route there was a team just a head, we could over take them but they already had their gear on and we didn’t. So resigning to the fact that we were behind another team by 5 minutes we made our way up to the first belay.
I led off the first pitch up over some good grade 4 ice and made a belay next to the team ahead. Hannah then led through the second longer pitch, that some say is the crux rather than the more famous rouge pitch coming next. She made good progress up, with some excellent bridging moves and amazing ice screws all the way up. The on the shorter rouge pitch I got a taste of the world-famous spin drift that Point 5 has, but only for a short time. So again this winter with snow blowing in my face from all angles I made my way up the slightly overhanging chimney of ice and onto easier ground.
The difficulties were over and the next 4 pitches were over grade 3 ice and grade 2 snow slopes that finished us off by the time we got to below the cornice. And as I made my way over the edge I emerged into bright sunshine and 360 degree views of the west coast of Scotland. I got a few strange looks from others on the summit as I made my belay. Which consisted of me walking away from the edge, keeping the rope tight on Hannah as she made progress up by steeping back.
Soon we were on our way down Corie Leis and back at the CIC hut. It is one of those days when the weather, ice conditions and friends all come together to make a great climb.