Flashback Friday 10
Posted by Max Hunter on 14th December, 2018
December/January 2001(about!) Top of Ben Nevis after climbing Observatory Ridge
Matt, Ed and I made the big trip up to Fort William from Swansea, South Wales. We hadn’t done loads of winter climbing, but we were attracted to the North Face Ridges. We stayed in the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, and had 3 days for climbing. We walked up to the North Face every day from there – a big walk, every morning in the dark! On day 1 we climbed Tower Ridge. On day 2 we climbed Observatory Ridge, and on day 3, we climbed Castle Ridge. I remember ‘running’ down the Zig-Zags at the end of every day.
It was only later that I learnt about the slightly shorter walk in from what is now the North Face Car Park. It was a boggy unpleasant walk back then – so maybe the walk from Glen Nevis was easier? No!
We had a good timetable – we were at the bottom of each ridge in the mornings by sunrise, but due to being inefficient and using sub-optimal rope work, it was always close to dark, by the time we summited – although it was dark before 4pm. I had my only ever winter lead fall (it was a mini fall) when leading a pitch on Observatory Ridge, and I don’t think Matt (belaying me) was ever aware of it – I looked over at him, and he hadn’t even noticed (it was a bit stormy) ! Great adventures, and good times.