"Nutcracker" (II/III*) climbs the ice on the right hand side of the deep central gully.
This wandering and weaving route was this morning my way-up to the base of an almost unheard of route, a climb that was going to surprise me in a very good way.
On the ramp in "North-West Gully"
The "prow" shaped buttress, with the gully to its right.
With the great "prow" guarding the route to its left, it looked an aesthetic and inviting climb…and in my opinion far more attractive than many of the classic routes on the mountain. I climbed up to the base of the first Grade III icefall on the route, and sunk my axes into the most superb and re-assuring ice.
I found myself soloing up ice at an angle that would usually make me concentrate hard without a rope, but today I seemed to float up it…first-time axe and crampon placements everywhere, the "thwack, thwack" of my tools echoing within the deep cleft.
Soloing superb Grade III snow-ice.
The route from a different angle. Just right of centre.
It's a great feeling to have that much fun and find such great conditions on an obscure climb. Classic routes often deliver, but can have a tendency to disappoint as well…it's brilliant what you can find if you go out with an open mind.