Saturday wasn't a nice day to be out. After a week of glorious sunshine and light winds the weather returned to what we have seen a lot of this winter, strong winds, milder temps and heavy precipitation. So Gary, Angus and I headed to the west flank of Tower ridge to try and get some shelter from the winds and avoid all of the fresh snow that was lying further up the mountain. At the CIC hut we chatted to a pair that had just dodged an avalanche below the Orion face and had decided to head back for a brew instead.
We headed up towards West gully with the plan of climbing the South West Ridge but Chris and another team had beaten us to it so we opted for Fawlty Towers with a variation. The first pitch is usually a nice pitch of ice but all I found was a layer of cruddy ice and soft snow which made the climbing feel a little harder than it should. Further up and conditions didn't really improve too much but at least the turf was frozen. This gave us four pitches of what normally is about grade III but was more like IV,5. We topped out onto Tower ridge and descended down the East flank into Observatory gully where there was more evidence of a slide coming from below Point 5.
Rich Bentley climbed a line next to us and one pair managed to make it up to and back from Central gully right hand. Today I was working for Abacus Mountain Guides.