I loved the walk into the Ben yesterday - the route was quiet, the skies were blue and the conditions looked great. More to the point, my rucksack was light (super-light) and I was collecting the rack and the rope gun at the CIC hut.
When I climb on the Ben with Rich, I never look at a guidebook because I have the talking guidebook with me and no matter what I suggest, Rich has probably climbed it before. The other thing about looking at guidebooks is that the descriptions never give the route the justice that it deserves.
Rich had his eye on The Shield, but it's hard when you don't have any reference point for what is in condition or what is not in condition. Until you swing the axes, hear the reply off the ice and feel the ice you just don't know. So, The Shield will have to wait for another day.
Not to be disheartened we swung around the corner and had a stonking day on Gemini.
There's a lot of climbing to be had :)