I was pretty tired last night after a long day, but not wanting to waste another good days climbing we made plans to head up the Ben again but to stay low and aim for The Curtain. It is in fantastic condition at the moment with thick ice all the way up, unfortunately due to the great conditions it has been getting lots of ascents so is entirely hooked out.
There have been reports of long queues for the route over the last week, this combined with it being a weekend and there being an overnight frost made us aim for a very early start so we could be first on the route. We left the car park at 5:45 and made good time on the walk in despite the objections from my legs, it was barely light when we got to the gearing up spot but there was a lovely sunrise and inversion towards the valley.
Jo headed off up the long first pitch up to the cave and found the climbing very straight forward due to following a ladder, despite this is was enjoyable climbing which could be very well protected if you so desired due to thick ice all the way up, we even placed a 19cm ice screw! The cave belay was dripping due to the warm temperatures, but inside the cave seemed to be dry.
I quickly set of up the next pitch, with the intention of linking the top two pitches into a long 50m pitch. Initially I found the route equally hooked out and straight forwards, as I approached the top of the second pitch I noticed that the normal route trends left to a belay to go up a less steep icy ramp. However, the thick, unhooked and steep ice above my head looked far more enjoyable than easy ladder climbing. It turned it into a fantastic pitch with engaging climbing up steep ice, where I actually had to swing my axes! It was great to be on steep ice and feel very comfortable as my technique and strength seems to have improved compared to two years ago.
We quickly descended Ledge Route back to our bags and made the decision to head down despite it being early. The walk out was stunning with the inversion and the sun lighting up the landscape, such a contrast when compared to yesterday!