/ Tower Ridge
Soloed it in under an hour. So no.
However a very good friend of mine was killed soloing it so it should not be underestimated.
I wouldn't solo it. I'm really fit.
Where is the best write up for a topo?
> I wouldn't solo it. I'm really fit.
it's harder in winter ;)
It's a ridge! It's hard to miss it, or go off route!
I did it in rock boots, but really, it is quite scrambly and crag approach shoes would be better. We did a lot of it without the rope as it just wasn't really necessary. But then that was in summer. I guess it depends on your experience too. I was amazed that the 'thin knife edge' bit, was a big wide pavement that you could just walk along...
It's a long day, so take plenty of sarnies.
here's a nice diagram of it...
I disagree as ridges go its one you definately want a descent description for on your first go (unless you want a fair bit of an extra chalenge).
What I was getting at was simply fitness is not an issue, so I simply wanted a little more info about it which others have provided.
And I was just after info for both summer and winter.
> I disagree as ridges go its one you definately want a descent description for on your first go (unless you want a fair bit of an extra chalenge).
We just followed the polish...
No. Unless you climb the Douglas Boulder direct it is all fairly straight-forward scrambling, apart from a single tricky section to the summit of the Great Tower after the LH traverse.
However, most rock climbers will only find it easy if they don't take any gear with them.
Conversely the more gear you take, the more you will be tempted to use it and the longer and harder it is likely to feel. Carrying anything more than perhaps 5 slings and 5 wires is just likely to conspire to slow you down.
> it's harder in winter ;)
Like any route, the difficulty is affected by the conditions all year.
It isn't difficult at all for someone with a bit of climbing experience, bit is a big mountain route so can be a bit intimidating requires a bit of mountain sense.
Fitness will help mostly on the walk in, the secret to moving fast on the ridge is not faffing, knowing when to rope and when not and when you do, doing it slickly.
Less of an issue in summer.
It's a hard scramble, or an easy climb. In good weather someone with climbing experience should find it a romp, and possibly only rope-up for parts of it. Tower Gap has got a little harder since the block that you step down onto sheared away, you're now better off going down on the left-hand side (or hand-railing the tat that is normally in-situ around the block at the edge).
The other bit that sometimes catches folk out is the Eastern Traverse of the Great Tower. There are a couple of "false" traverses lower down that lead you into no-man's land. If you ignore these and don't traverse until the ground above you is vertical you'll see the true ET and all will be well.
Enjoy - I must have done it literally dozens of times now and never fail to enjoy it. Truly a route for all seasons and the best mountaineering line to the summit.
Fitness will not get you past the Tower Gap if you don't have a head for heights...
> And I was just after info for both summer and winter.
No, it's not hard at all in summer; just a scramble really.
Needless to say in winter it's a magnificient route. Pick good conditions (neve) and weather and move quickly (a lot of it can be soloed). A lot of folk say it's not too bad but I found the odd tech 4 move. The hardest section is probably the climb up onto the Great Tower.
Did it 19 Aug in good weather. We did it in walking boots ok and only roped up for tower gap with a sling on each side to belay from. We both agreed we needent have bothered though, but had seen a previous group making a meal of it. Felt a little exposed in parts due to the drops your climbing above but if you can get your head round that then the climbing is all pretty easy.
Well worth doing but a little disapointing to get to the top and find it heaving with tourists in thier shorts and sandles.
Used big boots and took half rope and a small rack and all we ended up using was a long sling larksfooted or how ever you spell it around the belay loop then cliped to the in situ tat for the tower step that wasn't that scary.
The douglas boulder boulder on the other hand was dripping wet so we had to abb off from a peg and left a nut( so the half rope did come in usefull)
Massively over rated I thought but I was only really doing it to scope it out for winter - and i reckon it would be a lot trickier then!
hope that helps.
> Massively over rated I thought but I was only really doing it to scope it out for winter - and i reckon it would be a lot trickier then!
I think you can only really be dissapointed (as I was) in the lack of technical interest in summer. As a mountain rock feature it is unparalleled (in this country).
I don't know I faffed around at the start and nearly picked the VS line and the bit before the narrow bit had the potential to lead us astray.
However seeing as how my old rock boots fell apart at the start of the first pitch and I did it all in your approach shoes I'd have to say it was quite easy.
Different proposition in the wet or winter conditions though
and wind don't forget the wind
If I had never heard of it before I may have really enjoyed it.
But after hearing so much hype and horro stories of people having epics on the ridge I got my self ready for some massive alpine trek.
I made my friend get up at 6am so we could have an early start incase we got stuck or plumeted to our impending doom and when we got to the summit I was a little dissapointed.
It looks like it would be good fun in the winter though.
I done gashed crag a few weeks before hand and had much more fun on that if you can somehow compare the two.
I first did it before I'd really started climbing - it was around the time that increasingly hard scrambles led us to learn some basic ropework. I was a gibbering wreck crossing tower gap, but thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. I suspect it's the sort of route best enjoyed at your limit.
6am doesn't sound that early - the first time we tried NE buttress we were up for 3am and didn't get back to the golf course until 1am the next day, mind you it was November in our first season, and there was a good deal of waist deep snow, breaking crampons, failing torches, stuck ropes and abseils off prussiks (or worse) to contend with. The next morning was the "children in need" and it was hard to believe I wasn't hallucinating when a Pink Panther met me at the petrol station door when I bought my breakfast.
Haha awesome.....everyone needs an epic now and again!
Well summed up Jamie and rightly so, you have been up it the odd time eh
It does echo my experences of the ridge, I've been up in the heat of summer and it was simply a joy of a scramble. Again in a Septemeber when it was wet, wild, windy and saw snow rain and hail, tougher that time and we were glad of the short rope for parts of it. I can boast that our winter accent of TR was a midweek and it was deserted, perfect blue sky and a windless day <until we got on the plateu> It was fk'in ace and everything we dreamed it would be.
In the dry, good light boots or approch shoes are fine. There is a tricky chimney right after the duggie gap, a ticky bit at the little tower that some may find a rope handy and the eastern traverse, steep wall afterwards and the gap can feel a lot safer with a rope. We found that if you belay on the rocks right after climbing out of the gap, 30m is plenty. Ok so not much rope for an abb retreat but it isn't a route that would suit a retreat that way, if the shit hit the proverbial it may be better to knuckle down for the night than attempt to get off in the dark. A big day too if you don't know the ground. 10 to 15 hours car to car all depending on conditions and traffic, its a 3 hour walk in, 3 out again and an hour for luch and photos at the summit so thats 7 hours gone before you even tie on. Reaching the top is not the highlight of the day, getting safely down again is so keep some in the tank. A good winter description is in classic rock and a photo of my mate seconding the Eastern Trav in winter so anyone eying this route up for this coming season will know what to expect!
Agree with all those sentiments blanchie, my first experience of TR was an 18hr winter epic (shit conditions, ill prepared etc) walked away with frost bitten fingers and 1000 yrd stare and steered clear of the Ben for 10 yrs afterwards.
Its a great day out!
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