Wednesday, 3 April 2013

02.04.13 - Orion Face Direct V,5

After a very early rise and the habitual hill breakfast and cup of tea, I soon found myself at the North Face Car Park meeting Dave .  We had been planning a hit on the Orion Face for a good few days proper and a good few weeks before swithering if we should or not.  We decided we should.  The approach to the first belay was littered with substantial amounts of poorly bonded windslab so a careful approach and route choice was exercised.  Dave started up pitch one confidently enjoying the perfect climbing conditions and I sent pitch 2 in a similar fashion enjoying a full 60m ice pitch to a good rock belay.  We made our way through the pitches until we found ourselves at the crucial traverse pitch, we were very keen to see for ourselves what kinda nick this was in after being told by several sources that it was very thin and precarious.  When we saw what we had to tend with we collectively breathed a sigh of relief, it was nowhere near as bad as it had been made out to be and actually looked like good fun!  Dave confidently dispatched of the traverse and again we continued with the pitches until the bottom of the exit chimneys.  At the bottom of the exit chimney, we both felt a little strange, happy to be so close to completing this iconic route, yet at the same time a little sad that such a great route was nearly over.  I lead up the exit chimneys which in my opinion was some of the best, most under rated and enjoyable climbing anywhere on the face, a good 40m pitch lead to a good rock belay on the left, then Dave moved up past this to top out.  I have never climbed such an amazing route anywhere, instant favorite.  A good friend of ours said something like some routes are hyped up but dont live up to the hype, but on the Orion face the hype doesnt live up to the route. I agree with this statement whole heartedly.  What an amazing route.

Dave checks out the Topo Card!

Dave leads off on P1

Myself leading P2

Dave seconding P2

Starting out on P4

Dave on the traverse on P5

Leaving the belay on P8 up the exit chimneys

In the exit chimneys on P8

Great Photo by Al Halewood, showing the scale of the face, we can be seen just below the exit chimneys

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