Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The future of Scottish winter climbing?

Many of you will know about this already. But for those who don't check out the following photos
They're of a couple of friends Pete Benson and Guy Robertson climbing a new route The God Delusion grade IX on Beinn Bhan in Applecross. They had the perfect adventurous journey to get up this thing. Guy had been in several times before, including once with myself to catch conditions on what he'd dubbed "The Eiger Project" (the face looks a little like the North Face of The Eiger). A few days before success the pair had made an attempt, reaching about half height where Guy took a lob when a massive block in which both his axes and pro were in broke free. On the return visit Pete and Guy left the car at 1am, in warm wet drizzle. Infact it was so poor they considered turning around. Luckily they persevered as within touching distance of the climb's start the rain turned to snow. They started climbed at 5am repeating in the dark their previous pitches. It was lucky they started so early as the climbing was so involved the final pitches were climbed by headtorch. Again fortune was on their side as it was a clear night and their was a big bright moon. The night shots in particular show what a magical voyage this was. Add into the equation that its a winter only route and you have something super special.

The title of this post is obviously hyperbole as there are many different versions of the way forward in Scottish winter climbing. But I hope any youngsters getting into winter climbing will realise that even though routes like this don't have the very biggest of grades, their length committment and style of approach make them world class efforts.

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