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  • David Buckett

Ledge Route, Ben Nevis

If i could sum up today in 2 words it would be ‘wading‘ and ‘whiteout’ on Ledge route, Ben Nevis today.

The day started bright and we had good views into the north face, and all the other teams heading to the similar safe areas on the mountain.

Once at the CIC hut we were glad of the track that had been put in to the base of No.5 gully by other climbers.

Critically, today the ‘Considerable’ avalanche areas had risen to 900m, i was confident in the approach to Ledge Route which is just below and then using short pitches to safeguard ourselves up to the ridge.

By this time the weather had closed in to a more Scottish feel and we made our own tracks along the banked out ridge, with all the main rocky steps filled in. Once at the summit of Carn Dearg we opted for the summit of Ben Nevis.

From here it was probably some of the poorest visibility in whiteout conditions that i have had for a while. The map and compass were out and the concentration was on. 45 minutes later of walking in a straight line on a bearing saw us passing a few of the very buried cairns and onto the summit. From the summit we walked back 80m to the 3 cairns which were nearly buried then walked on 282 degrees all the way down until we were at the red burn crossing at half way when the cloud cleared, 2km and 650m of descent later.

At times the visibility was so poor i only knew i was going up or down hill by the feeling in my legs and only saw the summit shelter when we were about 5 meters away from it.

Its all change tomorrow though with 60mph winds, 2 degrees at the summit for Saturday then back to freezing on Sunday, should make the snow very firm.