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    Chasing The Ephemeral – 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter will be published by Mica Publishing in November. The cover photo shows Robbie Miller on the second pitch of the Cumming-Crofton Route (VI,6) on Beinn a’Bhuird. (Photo Henning Wackerhage)

    Chasing The Ephemeral – 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter will be published by Mica Publishing in November. The cover photo shows Robbie Miller on the second pitch of the Cumming-Crofton Route (VI,6) on Beinn a’Bhuird. (Photo Henning Wackerhage)

    As soon as the second edition of Ben Nevis – Britain’s Highest Mountain (which I co-authored with Ken Crocket) was published in 2009, Tom Prentice asked me whether I would like to write a book about Scottish winter climbing. The original idea was to produce a selected guidebook describing 50 of the finest routes, but the more we discussed it, the concept gradually began to change. The problem with describing the absolute best Scottish winter routes is that they require good conditions and many become climbable all at the same time. For me, being in the right place at the right time has always been the underlying Scottish winter climbing skill, so the selection criteria for the book evolved into a series of routes that cover the full range of climbing opportunities throughout the season – from snowed up rock routes in the first snows of November through to high up ice routes in April.

    After three years of discussion with Tom, I finally put pen to paper in 2012. It immediately became clear that this was a book about winter climbing strategy and tactics. I set about describing how to choose the most appropriate route to suit the prevailing weather and conditions (strategy) and then how to approach, climb and decend safely and efficiently (tactics). These strategy and tactics have been derived from long personal experience. Like many folk I have juggled climbing with a full time job and family, and have not had the flexibility to go climbing exactly when I pleased. In fact for nearly 20 years, my climbing was constrained to Sundays, but by careful choice of routes and venues I was able to successfully winter climb nine Sundays out of ten. I have described these thought processes in the book and then illustrated them with a selection of outstanding winter routes that I have enjoyed. Many will be well-known favourites, but others will be less familiar. My intention is not to create a tick list, but to prompt Scottish winter climbers to think widely about where to go and what to do.

    Chasing the Ephemeral – 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter will be a sumptuously illustrated book with routes from III to VII covering all major winter climbing areas in Scotland. Many people have kindly helped review the text and provided images, and I will be contacting a few more folk for some final photos in the coming weeks as we move to the final stages of production and publication date of November 2016.

    Nick Bullock leading the thin ice smear on Capricorn (VIII,7) on Ben Nevis. This outstanding single pitch addition climbs the thin snaking ice line directly above the twin Grooves of Gemini on the North Face of Carn Dearg. (Photo Tim Neill)

    Nick Bullock leading the thin ice smear on Capricorn (VIII,7) on Ben Nevis. This outstanding single pitch addition climbs the thin snaking ice line directly above the twin grooves of Gemini on the North Face of Carn Dearg. (Photo Tim Neill)

    Carn Dearg Buttress on Ben Nevis became particularly icy at the end of February and the classic Gemini (VI,6) saw many ascents together with the very good, but less frequented Waterfall Gully Direct Finish (VI,6). On March 10, just before the cold spell ended, Nick Bullock and Tim Neill nipped in for an excellent new addition on the Gemini headwall.

    “The line takes an often-prominent ice smear that often forms to the left of the twin grooves and Direct finish to Gemini,” Tim told me.” It appears to lead to nowhere, or at the very least, to an area of compact rock.

    From the good belay just left of the foot of Gemini’s twin grooves, the route pulls over the overlap on the left leading to a good pillar of ice in a left-facing groove. This leads to a stance on a small ledge to its right on a shoulder after 30m or so.

    Nick then climbed the icy groove above until it was possible to pull out left onto the surprisingly steep smear. This was followed to a more helpful and better-protected groove exiting right onto a snowy ledge. There was a possible bomber belay here, but instead, Nick continued up the technical and well-protected shallow groove above, to reach easy ground below the crest of Ledge Route.

    The route is provisionally called Capricorn (Nick’s star sign and holding the same traits required for a successful lead… ) It felt VIII,7 on the day, but it could may well feel a touch easier with slightly better ice. Nick led all the hard ground in one monster pitch.”

    Uisdean Hawthorn on the third pitch of Immortal Memory (IX,9) during the second ascent. This demanding winter-only line on the Far East Wall of Beinn Eighe was first climbed by Guy Robertson and Jason Currie in January 2013. (Photo Murdoch Jamieson)

    Uisdean Hawthorn on the third pitch of Immortal Memory (IX,9) during the second ascent. This demanding winter-only line on the Far East Wall of Beinn Eighe was first climbed by Guy Robertson and Jason Currie in January 2013. (Photo Murdoch Jamieson)

    It’s been something of a landmark year on Beinn Eighe with repeats of many hard routes, and on March 3,  Murdoch Jamieson, Ian Parnell and Uisdean Hawthorn continued the trend with the second ascent of Immortal Memory (IX,9).

    “ We had a social walk in with Dave Macleod and Steve Perry so the walking was easy,” Murdoch explained. “Descending the gully and turning left, we all became very excited.  The Far East Wall was looking very wintry in terms of Far East Wall standards.  (With it being so steep, I guess it’s hard for it to get in such good condition).  All of a sudden there was too much choice!  I left the decision up to Ian and Uisdean. They settled for Immortal memory [whilst Dave and Steve went for Sundance].

    Ian nominated himself to start us off.  Uisdean sent me up the second pitch.  It’s pretty physical and pumpy.  Not much feet along with being very steep.  Things were nicely gazed in verglas so I was made to work harder for my protection – a relentless pitch.  Uisdean took on pitch 3, which again is superb.  It never gave up till he rocked over the top of the crag… no nice easier ground at the top to relax like the other routes I’ve been on.

    We went back a few days later, the crag was blacker than black!”

    Binnein Shuas North-West Ridge  A. Location, Location, Location (55m III,4), A1. Location, Location, Location via Cave Man Start 55m (III,5) B. Laggan Fantasy (30m IV,5), C. Summit North-West Buttress (40m II). D. Bogle Eyed (30m, III), E. Off Yer Knees (30m, III). (Topo Martin Holland)

    Binnein Shuas North-West Ridge A. Location, Location, Location (55m III,4), A1. Location, Location, Location via Cave Man Start 55m (III,5) B. Laggan Fantasy (30m IV,5), C. Summit North-West Buttress (40m II). D. Bogle Eyed (30m, III), E. Off Yer Knees (30m, III). (Topo Martin Holland)

    “On March 6 Andy Clark, Rob Wright and I needed a short day with options to cut off early, so we headed for Masa and Yuki Sakano’s routes on the North-West Ridge of Binnein Shuas,” Martin Holland writes.

    “We climbed an alternative start to Location, Location, Location; the cave mentioned in Masa’s description is actually a through route. Andy, Rob and I climbed this and it gave a hilarious squeeze/thrutch with rucksacks needing to be removed part way up. Like all squeezes it’s difficult to grade, but the final moves out of the cave felt hard, but with good protection, so we’re suggesting a grade of III,5 and a name of The Cave Man Start.

    Higher up we climbed Bogle Eyed, which again gave a good quality, ice pitch and must form quite readily. We then aimed for what I thought was Summit North-West Buttress. We climbed what looked like the “obvious zig-zag snow line”, however, it felt somewhat nippy for a II and we popped out about 20m North of the summit rather than ‘80m West’; so not the same line, but a good pitch direct to the summit.

    With the benefit of better visibility on Saturday and topping out I now know I incorrectly located Bogle Eyed relative to Laggan Fantasy when I reported it last year on scottishwinter.com. Bogle Eyed is actually roughly level with and about 100m left (East) of Laggan Fantasy.

    The line we climbed on Sunday to near the summit is on what I’d guess would have to be called the Summit North or just the Summit Buttress. The Off Yer Knees name is Andy and Rob’s suggestion as it was a regular cry from Andy to Rob on the day!”

    Andy Nisbet on the first pitch of the Direct Start (V,5) to the Wall of the Early Morning Light on Beinn Bhan. The complete outing provides nearly 400m of sustained ice climbing on one of Scotland’s finest winter cliffs. (Photo Dave McGimpsey)

    Andy Nisbet on the first pitch of the Direct Start (V,5) to the Wall of the Early Morning Light on Beinn Bhan during the first ascent. The complete outing provides nearly 400m of sustained ice climbing on one of Scotland’s finest winter cliffs. (Photo Dave McGimpsey)

    Andy Nisbet, Dave McGimpsey and Steve Perry made an excellent three-pitch addition to Coire na Poite on Beinn Bhan in Applecross on March 5. Andy takes up the story:

    “When Dave McGimpsey, Jonathan Preston and I were climbing a new mixed line left of Silver Tear in 2013, Dave pointed out an obvious right-slanting line up the back of Coire na Poite and asked what it was. When I said it was nothing, he was most surprised. It looked a logical natural line in a popular corrie. I later realised it joined Wall of the Early Morning Light and was therefore an unclimbed direct start. We agreed to climb it together.

    It may not have been in nick in 2014 or 2015; at least the weather wasn’t cold enough to inspire me to go there. Plus Dave was mostly working away and not climbing, so the route had to wait. So it was most convenient when Dave’s contract ended just as conditions looked promising. Skye had been in great icy nick the previous weekend and Applecross was near Skye, certainly far away from the unconsolidated conditions in the higher mountains. The only worry was that no-one had logged Silver Tear on ukclimbing, and only a couple of March Hares had been logged, but all my instincts said that conditions would be good apart from perhaps the walk-in on crusty snow over heather. We agreed to climb on Saturday (February 5), and fortunately Steve Perry’s new job had been delayed, so we had three for trail breaking.

    In the end, the walking was as good as it ever is for that corrie, with little snow until the final slope into the corrie bowl was reached, and then you could often walk on top with only the occasional crusty collapse. And when we reached the corrie, we couldn’t believe how icy good the conditions were. Even the top vertical icefall of Silver Tear was fat, and our line was ice top to bottom. I guess so many places were in nick that Beinn Bhan had just gone unnoticed.

    The second pitch, where we would join the main groove line, had an obviously steep entry, but we talked about how the first pitch might be soloable, thereby saving us some time. What a joke when we got close; it was clearly steep and sustained and I volunteered to lead it. I ran out of 60m rope conveniently at a rock wall, but still well below the groove; our assessment of scale was well out too.

    Steve took over for pitch 2. By now it had started snowing and the wind had got up, despite all the forecasts saying it would be dry, so it became increasingly irritating as waves of spindrift were flowing down the cliff, although with no great volume. Steve in the lead actually didn’t notice, concentrating on climbing carefully and placing all our ice screws on this steep pitch; only he was strong enough to double up in the middle of the steepest section. The belayers were worried in case he needed ice screws for a belay, but again he just reached rock.

    Dave’s turn; a near vertical corner was hidden ahead. Dave romped up it, despite being the steepest ice he’d climbed for three years, and we reached the line of Wall of the Early Morning Light. I was wondering why they took such a wandering line in 1971 and now I knew. Steep ice at V,5 wasn’t in favour until front pointing was established. But the rest wasn’t exactly low angled, just a bit less on the arms, as I found leading a long groove pitch.

    A couple more pitches, each slightly easier than the previous, led us to the summit snow slope. It turned out to be wind blown hard snow, and there was a convenient break in the cornice. It’s always hard to judge scale but the anticipated 70m turned into 40m, and we were up in daylight in much better weather. The plateau was solid ice so the going was easy, but we still needed torches for the final descent to the car. Maybe not surprising after 370m of steep ice and snow on one of Scotland’s biggest and best cliffs in such good conditions.

    We felt we could only give it three stars when the even more sustained Silver Tear sat nearby and gets its four. But it’s still a very fine route, and another, which could make my winter. More to come I hope.”

    Michael Barnard on the first winter ascent of Sherriff’s Ransom (V,6). This is one of nine new winter routes added to The Cuillin during the very successful Skye Winter Festival that took place in January. (Photo Mike Lates)

    Michael Barnard on the first winter ascent of Sherriff’s Ransom (V,6). This is one of nine new winter routes added to The Cuillin during the very successful Skye Winter Festival that took place in January. (Photo Mike Lates)

    The Skye Winter Festival is the brainchild of local guide Mike Lates and has become a regular fixture on the winter climbing calendar. The meet is based at the Carbost Inn and has done a huge amount to bring the winter climbing potential of The Cuillin to the forefront of attention in recent seasons.

    This year, the Festival ran from 14 to 27 January and started on a real high when James and Doug Sutton made the first winter ascent of Crack of Dawn (VIII,8) on the first day of the meet. This 180m-long route is situated on the North Face of Sgurr MhicCoinnich and is graded HVS in summer and was in outstanding mixed condition. “Grade VIII is as hard and serious as any route on the island and well and truly keeps The Cuillin on the hard man’s radar,” Mike commented later.

    On January 15, Mike Francis and Dave Bowdler made the first winter ascent of the North Rib (IV,5) of Banachdaich Gully, whilst Lates teamed up with Pat Ingram to climb Park Lane (V,4), on a previously unclimbed crag low down to avoid the unconsolidated conditions higher up.

    The following day (January 16), the Francis-Bowdler team visited Coire a’Ghrunnda and added a Direct Start (IV,4) to South Buttress, whilst Mike Lates and party made the first winter ascent of Owl Chimney (IV,5). Further up the corrie, Michael Barnard and Pat Ingram found Tres Difficile (V,6), a steep mixed route left of the TD Gap summer route before attempting a new route to the right of his 2015 addition Skye High on the South Face of Sgurr Alasdair.

    January 18 saw two new routes added to the Stone Shoot Face of Sgurr Thearlaich courtesy of Barnard and Lates. The Bogeyman (VI,7) was a serious and sustained route with limited protection and poor rock, whilst further left, Mr Charlie (VI,7) was extremely steep, but was considerably more solid.

    The final new route of the meet took place on January 19 when the unstoppable Michael Barnard returned to the South Face of Sgurr Alasdair with Lates to complete the excellent Sherriff’s Ransom (V,6). After this the weather gradually warmed and the outstanding mixed climbing conditions disappeared, but once again, the Skye Winter Festival had contributed an excellent run of new winter routes to The Cuillin.

    A full report of the Festival can be found on the Skye Guides website.

    Simon Richardson on the first pitch of Too Old to Rock and Roll (V,7) in Glen Clova during the first ascent. The crucial hanging icicle leading through the overhanging headwall is hidden in a bay above. (Photo Sophie Grace Chappell)

    Simon Richardson on the first pitch of Too Old to Rock and Roll (V,7) in Glen Clova during the first ascent. The crucial hanging icicle leading through the overhanging headwall is hidden in a bay above. (Photo Sophie Grace Chappell)

    I’ve been watching an icicle grow in in Glen Clova’s Corrie Farchal for a number of weeks now. It’s situated on the buttress high up on the right side of the corner and makes the central line up the front face of the buttress through the overhanging headwall a possibility. The lower wall ices readily enough, but the only weakness in the upper section is an alarmingly steep corner whose walls overhang steeply on both sides, but fortunately it forms a hanging icicle.

    Sophie Grace Chappell was keen for a look, so on March 2 we headed up ahead of an approaching front. The first pitch was steeper than it appeared from below, but the turf was good and even yielded a couple of bulldogs as runners. I belayed in a bay below the icicle, which was complete, but it looked rather thin and fragile. I suspect it had suffered from the ravages of the sun the previous week, and will probably soon disappear completely as the sun rises higher in the sky, so it was now or never. Sophie came up and we rearranged the belay to provide protection from falling ice and I set off.

    A token ice screw on the approach ramp and a sling round the narrow base of the icicle itself did not inspire much confidence, but I managed to three-quarters place a stubbie in better ice and tie it off. The icicle was a narrow fragile free-hanging chandelier and most of it fell down with a single hit, but the six-inch wide column that was left seemed solid enough. Some steep pulls led to an icy dollop on the right wall where I could bridge my foot across and collect my thoughts for the steep exit onto unconsolidated powder top out. Fortunately a helpful clump of heather emerged below the powder and after some awkward contortions I pulled through just as the weather turned and it began to snow.

    SG followed with consummate ease and then led the final pitch to the plateau. Reflecting on the grade, it was probably the hardest ice pitch I’ve led for a long time and the protection was poor, but the crux section was short so we settled on V,7. In better conditions it could be a V,5 romp. Time and future repeats will tell!

    Postscript: Sophie and I returned on March 10 to add Too Young to Die (IV,6) a companion route to Too Old to Rock and Roll up the blunt left arete of the buttress. We also climbed Coffin Dodger (IV,4) up the rounded icy buttress between the gully lines of Brains Before Brawn and Over The Hill. Also in Clova on March 5, Forrest Templeton and Brian Duthie found The Scrorrie Romp (II) which takes the prominent right to left ramp-line up the impressive headwall of The Scorrie.

    Linda Gentlemen and Lorn Smith on the Left-Hand Finish to S Gully (III) in Coire nan Laogh on Marsco in Skye. (Photo Martin Holland)

    Linda Gentlemen and Lorn Smith on the Left-Hand Finish to S Gully (III) in Coire nan Laogh on Marsco in Skye. The corrie can be glimpsed when driving around Loch Ainort on the A87 between Broadford and Sligachan. (Photo Martin Holland)

    On February 28, John Jackson, Linda Gentlemen, Lorn Smith, Martin Holland, Gareth Robinson and Joanne McCandless decided to take a look at Wooly Gully (II,4) on Marsco.

    “This was the only route in the guidebook in Coire nan Laogh and the description sounded intriguing,” Martin explained.  (The guidebook description states that ‘frozen turf, rock and wool (!) under thin snow’ were used on the first ascent). “When we got in to the corrie, Wooly Gully looked banked out and I’m guessing it was first climbed in leaner conditions, so we decided on climbing the big central S-shaped gully.

    We soloed through great scenery on the first easy bends of the S and put ropes on before the final bend of the S. This gave a good pitch of ice, steeper on the right and easier on the left. Above the gully the face could be climbed almost anywhere at about grade II bringing you out about 100m east of the summit. The upper face, although easy angled, had serious feel and ice screws and warthogs were useful for runners and belays. It’s worthy of a star for its scenery and where it brings you out on the hill.

    We climbed in parallel as two teams with John, Linda and Lorn taking the left-hand more rocky line on the upper face and me a right hand more icy line largely as I had more ice gear with me. Conditions and weather were excellent.  S Gully (III) is a very obvious line, so slightly surprising that it had not been recorded before!”

    Rob Patchett leading The Shround (VII,6) on the North Face of Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis. This may have been the first ascent of the season for this outstanding ice feature which is one of the steepest ice routes in Scotland. (Photo Helen Rennard)

    Rob Patchett leading The Shroud (VI,6) on the North Face of Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis. This may have been the first ascent of the season. (Photo Helen Rennard)

    Helen Rennard had an outstanding weekend climbing on Ben Nevis last weekend. On Saturday March 5 Helen climbed The Shroud (VI,6) on Carn Dearg Buttress with Rob Patchett and Dougie Russell, and on March 6 she partnered Dave MacLeod on a new route called Night Fury (IX,9), which lies just left of The Urchin in the East Face of Tower Ridge. Here is Helen’s account:

    “I was climbing with Rob and Dougie on the Ben on Saturday. It was my first time out with either of them and it was good fun. We were planning to climb The Shroud but changed this to ‘whatever is free’ when we found the North Face car park already full at 6am. Six of us piled into Dougie’s van for a lift up the track, the extra weight almost bringing it to a standstill on one snowy incline. Walking in we could see that The Shroud was free and there was only one party heading in that way, so we stuck to Plan A.

    I led the first easy pitch and then Rob had the crux. The right icicle was a metre or so from touching but the left one was fully formed. The ice up to here was sugary and Rob did a great job keeping calm a long way above a rubbish ice screw, until he reached the relative sanctuary of some in situ gear. Once onto the pillar the quality of the ice improved massively and it was brilliant fun to climb. I tend to avoid ice in favour of mixed so was happy to have a rope above me on this. We think this was the first ascent of The Shroud this season, though we may be wrong. On our way down we found two ice screws and one nut – not a bad haul! Adrian Crofton and Al Robertson, who were staying at mine for the weekend, had had a good day on Waterfall Gully Direct, and on Sunday they climbed The Promised Land on Beinn Dorain.

    The next day I was out with Dave MacLeod, again on the Ben. After a quick stop at the CIC for tea and a spot of autograph-signing (by Dave – the lady looked a little perplexed when I said that she could also have mine…) we set off up Observatory Gully to try another new line near Red Dragon (on the East Flank of Tower Ridge). This was a line a few metres left of and parallel to Urchin which Dave Garry and Simon Frost had looked at two years ago. Dave MacLeod and I had been to try it back in January but it was heavily verglassed and Dave downclimbed the bottom of the first pitch on verglassed crimps. He kindly offered me a go at leading it but I declined, thinking that if he wasn’t getting up it then there was no chance I was.

    On Sunday the route was again verglassed, though not as bad. After the initial difficulties on the first pitch Dave went out of sight. Though I couldn’t see him I could hear that things weren’t great – the gear he had got was poor, and he had then climbed a protectionless verglassed groove a long way above this. The hex he had eventually got in above this took a while to hammer out! Dave had brought his Go Pro rather than camera and when I realised he could record audio on this I regretted the amount of swearing I’d been doing trying to untangle my fankled lanyards on second… The obvious line for the top pitch was straight up overhanging IX,9 ground. There was an easier route to the top, traversing off to the left, but this seemed a bit of a cop out. Again Dave led. He wasn’t happy to commit to the crux moves until he had got some gear in. Once he’d hammered in a terrier he pulled through on thin hooks and no feet, locking off to reach up for more thin hooks. Desperate stuff. Seconding this I managed to knock the terrier out with my hand – it was useless!

    We abbed down back down to our bags, chatted with Dougie and Adam Russell who had backed off Brass Monkey because of the amount of verglas (which shows just how well Dave had done), called in at the hut for more tea (but no food for Dave, as someone had thrown away what he had left on the table!) and then a wander down as it started to snow.”

    : Looking up the lower half of Double Salchow (IV,4) on the West Face of Beinn Dearg with crux ice pitch visible high up. The 350m-long route follows a continuous line of ice (and snow) which forms just right of the crest right of Silken Ladder and left of Peace Process, (Photo Andy Nisbet)

    Looking up the lower half of Double Salchow (IV,4) on the West Face of Beinn Dearg with crux ice pitch visible high up. This 350m-long route follows a continuous line of ice (and snow) just right of the crest right of Silken Ladder and left of Peace Process. (Photo Andy Nisbet)

    Andy Nisbet and Dave McGimpsey visited Beinn Dearg in the Northern Highlands on March 3 and found rather more white stuff than they anticipated. Andy takes up the story:

    “’Is it just me, or does our route look like a snow slope?’ So said Dave McGimpsey after two hours of wading through deep sludge towards the West Buttress of Beinn Dearg. And it did, so much so that we talked about abandoning it and climbing something nearer on the Glensquaib cliffs. But they looked pretty plastered too, and I only knew of a couple of poor quality new lines.

    We need to offer thanks to Mark Chadwick for a useful blog picture, intended to show the Ice Hose but also showing another line with more ice than I’d ever seen before. But on the day, the cliff showed little resemblance to the picture, plastered pure white and hard to even pick out the ice lines. After some recent thaws, we had chosen a higher option than Skye and were just beginning to regret it.

    But we decided to bash on and see what it was like. As we approached the cliff, the snow began to firm up and we were able to walk on its top on the slope below the line, which we could now pick out. Things were looking up. It had snowed a fair bit overnight but the wind must have been blowing up, as some recessed areas were packed with soft snow but most of the crag was blown clear.

    The line was a shallow gully just right of the steep edge of the famous part of the West Buttress (with Ice Hose and Silken Ladder). Above halfway was much more general snow and ice but I knew from Mark’s picture that there was a good line of ice, just it was now part buried. The route was going to be long (it’s a big cliff) and with limited protection apart from ice screws, so we’d gone light and hoped to solo up as far as possible. Initial ground was easy to the first significant ice pitch which after discussion, we soloed too. Dave seemed happy and the ice was solid, but to me it didn’t seem as predictable as the steeper ice on Skye, so above this I was keen to put the rope on for what was likely to be the crux.

    There were a couple of steep pulls above a good ice screw, then a longer groove which still kept the mind focussed, after which the ground slowly got easier to reach a halfway terrace. Above was white and extensively icy but we knew there was a line of thicker ice under the snow. Some of the ice was good, some brittle and some under deep snow. It was Grade III at most so we just kept going in three extended pitches to reach the top.

    There was so much snow that the wall at the top of the cliff was buried, only the top rocks showing through, but the snow was still largely wind blown and it was easy walking down to the descent gully between the west and Glensquaib Buttresses. Despite our steps, it was hard going walking out, partly because the day had warmed slightly. My legs were protesting but the thought of a high speed free wheel out on the bikes kept me going.

    We discussed the grade. We could have gone for III,4 but it felt a big route so I was allowed to grade it IV,4. Irish names were becoming a little boring so it’s provisionally called Double Salchow, an icy name for a route with two sections and two climbers but admittedly no leaps into the air.”