Late Season on The Ben

The Orion Face

The Orion Face

With great conditions in the N.W., Steve Reid and I headed  up to Riasg to bag a route on the Ben. We chose Astral Highway (VI,5) a route on the Orion Face, emerging from the top left of the snow basin of Orion Direct.

Top of crux, pitch 7

Top of crux, pitch 7.

An early start (4.00am from Riasg), had us at the C I C hut at 6.30 and on the route by 8.00am. With perfect ice and neve the first 4 pitches on Orion Direct were straightforward, and the steeper ice on Astral Highway above took good screws with the occasional peg at belays. We finished up the 40ft corner of the N.E. Buttress, the route of the original accessionists, Kimber and Higgins.

The 40ft corner

Steve tackles the 40ft corner.

On the summit by 4pm, and back at the C I C drinking tea by 6pm. A fantastic route and memorable day.

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