Our intention was to tackle the first section of the ridge which takes in the main summit and a few others too. This seemed like a sensible objective for our first time on the ridge. However we got far more than we bargained for!
Early route finding difficulties were soon ironed out, but time had already been lost (and we hadn't made an early start).
Soon we recognised some obvious features and our hopes were raised. The scrappy scrambling became excellent easy climbing taking in some dramatic scenery. Once on the arete proper things became even better, although route-finding was still far from straightforward.
There was a general lack of protection on the arete and with lots of loose rock, we were unable to move particularly quickly, all costing yet more time!
An abseil of almost 25 metres brought us into a huge notch on the ridge, from here an easy climb saw us back on the arete and dropping into yet another notch. This time we spotted a fixed rope (as mentioned in the guide we had), but with time marching on and the prospect of darkness catching up on us, we decided to abseil off the ridge and into the heavily vegetated terrain on the north side. Painful and tedious, but safe and definitely the right decision.
The remainder of this magnificent ridge will be waiting for us and we hope to return very soon to complete the traverse.
Slight disappointment was in my thoughts as we walked back to the car, even a sense of failure that we didn't complete our objective.
But on reflection, we couldn't have hoped for more, and most importantly, we came back safely, ready to try again soon :-)
Above = part of the Western section of ridge.
Below: Kate on easy ground on the arete with Montgo towering behind.
Bottom: Climbers on the initial col and about to gain the ridge.