South Gully (IV,5), Devil's Kitchen

With thick ice prevalent in the Devil's Kitchen we felt it better to queue for a classic rather than opt for a lesser route at the venue. Better to wait a few hours than wait a few years. We opted for South Gully.

There were already teams on the route. We were third in line. A climber ahead of us had to momentarily abort his lead after one of his crampons snapped off his boot with just the bindings keeping attached. He managed to down-climb safely, adjust, and then replace the crampon. Eventually it was Stewart's turn to climb the first pitch...

Climber on the first pitch of South Gully
More groups presented on the platform beneath the main second pitch. It was clear that we were in for a long wait. The banter was at least good between climbers and helped pass the time. By the time it was my turn I was keen to get a move on. The climbing was by now a little hooked-out, which allowed for rapid progress and existing ice screw holes were on offer for those happy to use. The pitch was worth the wait. Ice conditions were excellent.

Waiting in line
Me leading the main (second) pitch of South Gully
Me leading the main (second) pitch of South Gully
Stewart led the short final pitch to the top, by which time it was sunset. No time for a second route. Time to start the drive home.

Top of the route
The decent
Devil's Kitchen at sunset

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