Mount Fay Center Ice Bulge Direct
Just returned from a 4 Day Trip to the Neil Colgan Hut with ascents of Fay and (most of) Little. We ascended last Friday via the Perren Route in mostly temperamental weather. Warm temps and squalls throughout the day left the snow that remained below the chain pitch, rain soaked, punchy and without much support. Rain over the weekend has reduced a noticeable amount of snow volume on the approach since, and made the descent a lot more user friendly. As of Saturday, a noticeable upswing in conditions came in as the precip subsided and temperatures cooled. 3 of 4 trip days we experienced solid freezes and overnight recovery allowing good cramponing and fast travel to and from the peaks. Coverage on the glacier is still excellent, and only a few sags over the crevasses are starting to become visible. The bergschrund on Mount Little is yet to open, and those guarding the West Ridge of Fay as well as the North Face lines would be easily passed right now.
The Center Ice Bulge still has cornice hazard overhead, but given the sky coverage and temps in our favor, and size of the features we thought we'd give it a spin. At least half the face above the bergschrund held snow which gave boot top step kicking and the option of shortroping which kept things quick. The upper half of the face is down to ice and required a handfull of pitches to position ourselves in a thin spot under the cornice. Tensioning off a few ice screws, it took about 20min to dig an exit through the feature, which was a little sporty, but a lot easier with each of the 3 of us passing through. With cool temps late into the day, we drafted v-threads back down the face to get home as opposed to descending the West Ridge.
Precip on Friday left small isolated pockets of Windslab at ridgecrest and lee features. Small and predictable for the most part, and any signs of instability in the new snow observed early in the trip were gone by trips end. All in all a great trip, with most of the days giving near perfect conditions for travel and ascent.
Lot's of spots to fill water bottles on the way up currently, not much need to carry it up from the parking lot for now as it was easy enough to refill en route.
Photos should be up on our blog and social feeds later tonight for those interested.
IFMGA Mountain Guide
Cloud Nine Guides Inc