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The East Face is a fantastic sweep of compact dark schist with small roofs which lend it an air of impregnability. During winter this air hangs heavily around the face and lines of ice contribute to give it an unfriendly persona. This is what Nick Cradock, Brian Alder, Dave Fearnley and Lionel Clay were hoping to sample when they made the first ascent, during winter, of the face. The face had been attempted before by Nick and various partners, but they were thwarted by a lack of good ice. This seems to be a characteristic of the face. The first, and subsequent ascent parties have used a helicopter to access this very isolated place. A challenge still exists for a party to walk in and climb—a committing prospect. As of the printing of this guide the face has not been repeated in winter.
This 18 pitch route is steepest in the lower section and weaves around linking up the runnels. With fatter ice it would be possible to take a more direct line. The first ascent party bivvied and, unless good conditions are encountered, a bivvy for successive parties will also be required because of the size of the route and short winter days.
F*** The Pope.
Nick Cradock, Brian Alder, Dave Fearnley & Lionel Clay, July/Aug 1990.