Today, it was my turn to climb Thompson’s Route, but as a day of work. I was out with Tim, who I’ve climbed with a number of times over the years, the first being on a winter mountaineering course in 2012. Over the years, he has put a lot of time and effort into pushing himself in the mountains, and having not been out with him for a while, I was pleased to see quite a boost in his confidence and ability.
One of his big goals is to climb Point 5 Gully, so whilst it isn’t in condition at the moment, these few days will help Tim tune back into Scottish winter, so that when the opportunity presents itself, he’ll be more than ready. We decided to go for Thompson’s Route, knowing that it wouldn’t be straight forward at the grade today, due to the lack of fat ice, making it quite a fun, icy, mixed chimney, with a number of tricky steps. Tim also hasn’t done much in the way of mixed climbing, which requires a slightly different set of movement skills to the ice climbing he’s done, mainly in Norway.
The first pitch was really the crux, with a deep chimney at about 20m, and filled with soft non-weight bearing snow, which Tim did well on, having to rely on balancing his front points on small ledges of rock. From the junction with No. 3 Gully Buttress, we continued straight up, giving a further great pitch of mixed climbing. So, a great first day for him, hopefully a couple more to come.
Quite quiet today, with other teams on SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder, Fawlty Towers, a couple of teams heading up towards Comb/No.2 Gully, No.3 Gully Buttress and Central Gully of Creag Coire na Ciste.