|Malcolm on the initial icy groove|
Malcolm Bass and I had this weekend marked in our diaries for some time. Like me, Malcolm doesn't have the flexibility of climbing mid-week and so, with everything crossed, we made plans. The preceeding week had been stellar but, typically, as our play-date drew nigh, the weather forecast provided reason to be concerned. Gale force south easterlies are not necessarily a winter climber's best friend! We opted for West Central Gully and, as anticipated, it offered full respite from the icy wind scouring the summit plateau. On a wall where route names have traditionally paid homage to wind, it seemed fitting that I was heading back to "Mistral".
|Jim approaching the first belay|
|Malcolm gaining the fabulous belay ledge after pitch 2|
|Jim starting the crux pitch 3|
|Jim high on the crux pitch aiming for the small V notch in the sky-line|
|The happy couple at 9pm|
As Malcolm later said, according to the new Yorkshire winter grading system the crux pitch was "reet 'ard" but, going with convention, we will suggest "very sustained VII 8" with the route definitely worthy of three stars. A memorable day!