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~ Friday 25th July 2014

The South Ridge of the Dent Blanche is well known for being a good option in snowy conditions...or so we thought! A long and wet walk to the hut dampened spirits a bit - where was the forecast sunny afternoon? Sitting in huts watching the snow fall is becoming a familiar feeling this summer. At midnight it was still snowing, but we woke at 3am to find stars and clear skies. Phew.

The climbing starts straight from the hut. Usually it's a dry-rock warm-up, but this morning it was knee deep from the terrace. The airy arete was quite delicate, leading to some more sustained wallowing up ever-deeper snow. The "easy" rock ridge that follows was snow all the way with almost no rock visible.

Strangely crampons were balling up despite deep, fresh, cold snow - a sure sign of something "not right" with the snowpack! Sure enough, arm-deep and hidden below fresh windblown snow we found a saturated wet layer over 30cm deep - decided enough was enough.

A rare summer snowpit! Wet layer obvious about 50-60cm down