Yesterday we attempted a big route that we spotted in 2011. We actually attempted it the day before but the walk and route were bother longer than we expected so we, riskily, dropped out bags at the bottom of the ascent up to the route hoping snow wouldn't prohibit us returning. It didn't, and so we did, rising at 4am and walking by 7am. It turned out to be six pitches, none of which were that hard until the last. We walked out in the day at the end of a thirteen hour day.
The top pillar involved crossing some horrible ice - layers of ice on crud on ice on crud, each breaking away when hit. Eventually I managed to get established on the pillar, but I was already feeling the effects of the traverse. Unfortunately the pillar was no better - fluted and hollow ice. The kind you swing at and the axe diverts into the nearest hole. I pushed on up for a few yards but was pretty boxed and the ice to too bad to get a decent screw in. Eventually, obeying the law of 'never fall' I clipped into an axe (oh, the shame) and rested while placing two poor screws. Thinking I had recovered I carried on. For two feet and then my hands just started unpeeling from my axes. Admitting defeat, I rested again, knowing the pump was terminal. I placed another screw that was at least weight bearing, and only ten yards from the top of a 240m climb, I retreated. And yes, you read that right - I abbed off a £50 ice screw. There was no abolokoving that ice and when you know you need to get out of there, you know. All in all, it was quite harrowing.
Today has been a rest day (again) - we went otter spotting but to no avail. We have seen eagles, and even porpoises (from afar) so far though.