Exciting Times on Great Central Groove

A Stratchclyde police helicopter approaches The Brack with Beinn Ime and The Cobbler in the background. Headtorches and camera flashes on the approach were mistaken for distress flares and a rescue was mounted whilst the two Petes (Benson and Macpherson) were climbing a new finish to Great Central Groove on The Brack. (Photo Pete Macpherson)

Pete Macpherson and Pete Benson added a challenging new finish to the classic Great Central Groove on The Brack on December 22, but they had an exciting incident whilst climbing the route. Pete M takes up the story

“We went down to The Brack on the 22nd to try and repeat Mammoth but it was black, so we ended up doing a harder last two pitches to Great Central Groove. Anyway, as we walked up in the dark we stopped to take pics on the way. When we got to the crag, Pete illuminated the cliff with his super duper bright head torch. We then noticed a car at the road flashing us but didn’t think anything of it. I headed up the first pitch to the sound of a helicopter in the background, and when Pete arrived at the belay he got a phone call from his wife. It turned out someone saw our headtorches and mistook them for distress flares and phoned the police which sparked a helicopter and the MRT team to be scrambled. They traced Pete’s car and rang his partner who phoned Pete to alert us. Pete then phoned the Police and let them know we were OK. Good to see there are people watching out for us!”

The pair climbed the first two pitches of Great Central Groove on well frozen turf and streaks of ice. From the big turf ledge, Pete M climbed the steep left crack rather than continuing up the corner, and then made a very thin traverse to top of the corner and a block belay. Pete B then headed up overhung ramp-groove, partly on thin ice, to a turfy exciting exit. “It was a great crux lead,” Pete M told me! “And overall, it made for a lovely route at about VII,9.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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