First winter routes done in Scotland
- Tuesday 9th December 2014
Dec 9th 2014
Although it has been something of a slow start to the winter season north of the border, reports are now coming in that the recent dip in temperatures has meant that the Scottish hills are coming into nick and that the first winter routes of the season have been done.
Not surprisingly, those who ventured into the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms over the weekend were suitably rewarded. Kevin Avery and Adam Lincoln report an ascent of Hooker’s Corner (VI, 7) in Coire an Lochain. Other teams were active in Lochain as well on Savage Slit (V, 6) and Ewen Buttress (III). Teams also notched up ascents of The Message (IV 6), Pot of Gold (V, 6), Hidden Chimney (II/III) and Invernookie (III, 4) in nearby Coire an t-Sneachda whilst Yukon Jack (IV, 5) was climbed yesterday we understand.
Adam Lincoln following Hooker's Corner in Coire an Lochain. Photo Kevin Avery
Simon Richardson has also blogged on his website that teams were in action over on Skye; “Mike Lates, Jamie Bankhead and Iain Murray made an ascent of BC Buttress on Sgurr Thearlaich. This relatively high altitude crag overlooking the Great Stone Shoot comes into condition very fast, and the trio found an alternative start which brought the grade down from IV,5 to IV,4.” Simon Rchardson, climbing with Roger Everett, also did the first ascent of Rumbling Ridge (III,4) on Braeriach.
Roger Everett on Rumbling Ridge. Photo Simon Richardson
Will Sim, fresh from his autumn success on the House/Anderson route on the North Face of Mt Alberta in the Canadian Rockies with Nick Bullock, was also in action over on The Ben after which he was able to tweet that he’d succeeded on the second ascent of Tomahawk Crack (VIII,9) on the Sioux Wall on Number Three Gully Buttress. Sim added that Tomahawk Crack was “destined to be a classic”.
Will Sim's Twitter feed...
Martin Moran and Robin Thomas were also out in Coire an Lochain on the Friday before the weekend and had quite an epic. Their chosen target was Pic ‘n’ Mix, a 2006 route from Tim Emmett and Ian Parnell which starts up Never Mind a HVS rock route up the slim rock pillar between the two legs of Y-Gully. During the first ascent Messrs Emmett and Parnell took some substantial falls off technical ground and were sufficiently impressed that they give their two-day ascent of Pic ‘n’ Mix a grade of IX, 9. Pic ‘n’ Mix was repeated in 2010 by Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell who despite their nine-hour epic felt VIII, 9 to be more representative. Simon Richardson’s website has more details of this repeat… http://www.scottishwinter.com/?p=172. Subsequent to this, Nick Bullock also pitched-in with a direct finish which he graded IX, 10.
Robin Thomas heading up the final pitch of what they thought at the time was Pic 'n' Mix. Photo Martin Moran
Against this backdrop, but sadly without a description, Martin Moran and Robin Thomas duly committed to follow the line of the summer route, Never Mind. However, their attempt ground to a spectacular and nerve-jangling halt when, following what they believed to be the correct route, Thomas took a fall off the upper pitch and completely cropped one of his twin ropes! The team changed over and Moran was to establish the cause of the rope failure – a tiny yet significant cluster of Quartz crystals on an otherwise blunt arête. They retired somewhat chastened. Subsequently, Martin Moran and Robin Thomas believe that they have now established that the line they were following was in fact some way off the line of Pic ‘n’ Mix. Furthermore, Martin Moran reports that Guy Robertson and Pete Benson have also tried to follow the line of Never Mind but they concluded it was impossible without a freakish build-up of ice on the final moves. Finally, and ever the professional, Martin Moran is keen to spread the word regarding their incident in the hope that others can share the lesson that they were gifted.
Robin Thomas and Martin Moran battling the upper pitch as seen from the plateau. Photo Calam Hicks
All in all, quite an eventful opening weekend to the Scottish season which - with the cold snap remaining - seems set to continue for a while yet.
Click through here to follow Kevin Avery on Twitter…
Click through here to follow Will Sim on Twitter…
To follow Simon Richardson’s regular updates on Scottish Winter action click through here to his website/blog…
Finally, to read a full report into the harrowing adventures of Martin Moran and Robin Thomas then click through to Martin Moran’s website here...