Early Repeat of The Prophet

Shauna Clarke making an early repeat of The Prophet (VI,7), Beinn an Socach. It is not known whether this route has seen any repeats since it was first climbed in January 1991. It was thought to be a more technically difficult and bolder undertaking than the neighbouring modern classic, Messiah (VII,7). (Photo Dan Moore)

On Saturday December 18, Dan Moore and Shauna Clarke made an early ascent of The Prophet (VI,7). This rarely climbed route was first climbed by Graham Little and Kev Howett in January 1991.

“It doesn’t look like it sees many ascents,” Dan told me, “but it has varied and interesting climbing. There are some very tenous moves on the second and fourth pitches with some sketchy gear! The third pitch has a strenous pull through a roof but has good protection. Having climbed Messiah yesterday [December 23] I would say the Prophet is a trickier and more serious proposition. Though not as sustained, it has technically harder moves. With the less than adequate gear in places wondered if the grade of VI,7 was a consensus? Messiah was safer and never too difficult – in current condition at least!”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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4 Responses to Early Repeat of The Prophet

  1. James Thacker says:

    Hi Simon, must admit that I haven’t done many Southern Highlands routes but thought that Messiah was just proper Scottish VI,6..?

    • Simon Richardson says:

      Hi James, I think a lot of folk think the same but its given VII,7 in the SMC Southern Highlands guide and Scottish Winter Climbs. To avoid confusion I go with published grades (from SMC guidebooks or the Journal), but with consensus grades do change and these are then reflected in new editions of guidebooks. Some mixed routes also become easier with traffic as the cracks get cleaned out, which is no bad thing. Comments anyone on the grade of Messiah?

  2. James Thacker says:

    Hi Simon, just an observation. I guess that ultimately grades should settle down as a consensus at that particular crag/area. I suspect that the route is less turfy that on the first ascent and there may be more opportunities for rock protection now…

  3. Graham Stein says:

    When we did it earlier this season, I wouldn’t have complained if the grade had been VI,6, based on the conditions we experienced. It was certainly no harder technically than Hoarmaster, but nevertheless, you wouldn’t want to blow it at the end of the traverse at the top of P1.

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