/ Heavy Traffic on Point Five Gully on Saturday

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RKernan - on 18 Mar 2013
On my way up to an epic on Smith's Route on Saturday I took this picture of Point Five Gully.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=215615

At least 4 parties on/gearing up for the route, and as you can see in the photo one person leading up directly below someone seconding.
There was no-one on any of the routes either side of Point Five.

Too me this seems a bit insensible and dangerous - what with ice fall down the chimney etc. (Thinking back to that blog post by Will Gadd, http://willgadd.com/category/blog/ )

I did Point Five two weeks ago but we had the route to ourselves. I wouldn't like to be below anyone on it - surely it would be better to go for plan B, Indicator Wall, Hadrian's, Smith's or some such. It's just going to ruin a classic route for you if you get stuck behind/on top of people and showered by ice.


That said I got into a near rescue scenario myself stuck under (and falling off) the cornice atop Smith's in the blizzard that developed later that day so maybe I'm not the best judge of Winter safety.
Tim Chappell - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan:

Brr. Glad you came through it OK. Did you see the cornice capers on Simon Richardson's blog recently? (See "A day of adventure" on Scottishwinter.com.)
RKernan - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
Thanks, I'll have to write the whole affair up after a certain period of introspection. Seeing a 22cm screw in to the hilt in what seemed to be good ice blow and lying upside down in the lee of a monster cornice was a bit unsettling...
Had a look at that blog - sounds fun, had an experience like that with a cornice before! Luckily it went well that time.

Anyway, what do people think of that amount of traffic of Point Five? Fair game or another example of what Gadd was talking about?
mikedelderfield - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan:Green Gully was very busy on Saturday also perhaps with 4 parties on or below the route.

We did Central Gully RH, tho would have gone for Green had it not been so busy. It wasn't especially a safety decision we are just anti social.

Central Gully was fab FYI.
Jamie B - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan:

I've seen Point Five busier than that! People do seem reluctant to change objectives, I guess given its iconic status and current easy condition this isn't too surprising.
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to mikedelderfield:
> It wasn't especially a safety decision we are just anti social.

Anti-social would have been if you'd gone from Green anyway, pressurising those above when you joined them at the belay, and kicking ice on those below ;-)
rossn - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan: I'm with you. Went towards the route once and seeing the large numbers of people on it decided to change our plan. We did a quick left turn and went onto Observatory Ridge in what turned out to be perfect conditions and superb weather and had a great day. Kind of glad it turned out as it it did. RN
jas wood - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan:By the time we arrived, late start, lots of people on routes and waiting for hadrians,point five,sickle, left egde, observatort buttress, smiths etc. We went for plan D of tower scoop which was free from traffic, probably due to the slope above !(should have went for indicator wall maybe)
I have a picture of you on route to the epic with the monster cornice ! we done tower scoop then an awful traverse onto tower ridge with spooky snow and we noticed you hadn't moved for a while and trying to traverse. Team behind us on tower ridge, up which we finished, were rescued next morning after what must have been a horror show of a night out in them conditions.

Never been that spooked by dodgy snow before.
Kevin Woods - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to jas wood:
Team behind us on tower ridge, up which we finished, were rescued next morning after what must have been a horror show of a night out in them conditions.

I was in Glen Coe as the storm blew through. Was rough when I left the Clachaig that night. But slept in the car and when I got out at 3/4am the weather was mercifully good - no wind (at glen level), stars out, not too cold and good visibility by starlight. By 7am it had clouded over + the wind had picked up. Glad to hear the team on Tower Ridge were ok, can't have been an easy night.
Doghouse - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to RKernan:

The guy leading up behind the second must be an absolute muppet! Having someone so close behind you like that must really distract from the pleasure of climbing the route.
mikedelderfield - on 18 Mar 2013
In reply to Toreador: you are right, unsociable is probably the word. Perhaps anti social is having a dump at one of the belays.
rossn - on 19 Mar 2013
In reply to Doghouse: Funny you should say that but we were on SC Gully last Tuesday and I was setting out on Pitch 2. The ice conditions were excellent apart from the awkward step onto the ramp which was extremely cruddy loose snow. I cleared a bit away and found the top of a block which you can usually step onto then tried to swing across. I managed to plant one axe but as I made the move it pulled and I thought 'I'm going to fall here'. Anyway I didnt and took a moment to place a screw and calm myself. Then I heard the dreadfull scrapping noise of a lead climber hard behind us sliding back down the first pitch from just below the belay as he fell. Fortunately he was fine and his screw runner held about 15 feet below him. But it was extremely unnerving. The other possibility of course was that I could have fallen 20 feet and landed dead square on top of him. I think its worth giving people just a bit of room especially if they are climbing quickly enough. 5 minutes wait might just be enough to keep everbody happy and safe. RN
nicjbuk - on 19 Mar 2013
In reply to rossn: i thought you were giving up on the forums...........ha ha, you can't resist.
Jim Fraser - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to mikedelderfield:
> (In reply to RKernan)
>
> ... Central Gully was fab ...

No surprises there then. I'll take it any day over Green.


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