Feast of the East

Martin Moran starting the second (crux) pitch on the first winter ascent of Feast of the East (VIII,9) on Beinn Eighe. This steep E1 5c on the Eastern Ramparts as first climbed in summer by Andy Nisbet and Gill Ollerhead in May 1992. (Photo Martin Moran Collection)

Martin Moran, Murdo Jamieson and Francis Blunt pulled off a magnificent route on Sunday (December 19) with the first winter ascent of Feast of the East on the Eastern Ramparts of Beinn Eighe.

In a remarkably efficient ascent, Murdo climbed the steep first pitch to the girdle traverse ledge, Martin made a superb lead of the second tech 9 crux pitch, and Francis powered up the final steep bulging 5b crack. Martin has had a superb start to the season with the first ascent of Omerta in Coire an t-Sneachda and repeats of The Secret and The God Delusion, but this time it was the pressure of leading under the full scrutiny of his more youthful companions that provided the greatest challenge.

“A double-roofed groove devoid of footholds signalled the crux,” Martin wrote on his blog. “I locked my knee against my torqued axe to place protection, and realised there would be no rests for the next 8 metres. A pair of cherubic but expectant faces gazed up from the belay stance. The pressure was on, my status as guru standing on the line. With every trick and contortion I’d ever learnt I squirmed and bridged desperately upwards. Protection could only be placed below waist level from an arched layback position. There was every chance of ending spreadeagled, upside down and inches from their eyeballs if I blew it.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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