A late breakfast again today but it was more substantial than most so we filled up on muesli and crepes. Steve had warned us about the cold so we started off wrapped up like pensioners in winter but were soon removing layers like a stripper on stage once we got into the days work. Mainly a snow plod up to the first col and then with the sun coming out to greet us a long descent down a glacier. We overtook almost all the groups who had left before us, bucking the hare and tortoise theory, despite a minor tumble from Duncan when we were trying to pick our way across the glacier. We found the path on the other side but more importantly found a couple of picnic chairs by the path which we felt obliged to make use of for a spot of lunch. During our descent, or possibly over lunch, we had from Duncan what I would humbly like to volunteer as quote of the day. I can't remember the exact context but I can only assume that I was exposing my sensitive side when Duncan declared that 'Colin, your quite a catch'. Couldn't agree more old boy.
After an indulgently long lunch break in the sun we continued down until it came time to turn a sharp right and climb up the side of valley to the top of the ridge. This was a stern climb at the end of the day and with the weather turning greyer by the moment we caught up with Andy and Cliona also grinding up towards the top. The rain started to come down and there were some worrying flashes of lightening rolling around the valleys. The rain paused long enough for Andy to optimistically state 'At least we didn't get soaked' at which point it came down hard enough to wash this shred of positive thinking from our minds. Towards the top of the ridge was a steep snow slope, now made very greasy with the rain, which was basically no fun to climb. This was only topped by the two precarious ladders we had to climb at the top to get to the hut which was balanced on a knife edge ridge. How it was built in the first place is anyone's guess. Overall a wet afternoon shortly followed by the now traditional afternoon power nap. This worked out well because with the hut itself was packed to capacity and there was often only room to sit on your bunk or stand outside in the rain. The toilets are worth a mention. With little space they had set up a series of four large bags hung down the side of the ridge on the end of ropes and attached to four small wooden huts by chutes. Periodically helicopters fly the bags away for disposal but in the meantime the stench in the huts was literally eye watering. Almost better than Imodium.