Hidden Ice

John Lyall looking relaxed and composed on first ascent of Merlin (IV,4) on Creag Dhubh above Loch Ericht in the Central Highlands. (Photo John Lyall Collection)

On January 7 John Lyall visited Creag Dhubh, overlooking Loch Ericht with Jonathan Preston, where they climbed two new lines.

“The first one, Merlin (IV,4), I had been on before in 2001 with two clients,” John told me. ” But we abseiled off to go to the aid of a team of three who were avalanched close by and needed our assistance. The second line, Hidden Gem (IV,4), does what it says on the tin – it follows a hidden chimney behind a steep wall about 150m to the left of Neapolitan.”

Creag Dhubh can be approached from the A9 near Drumochter in about an hour or so, and is one of the best mid-level ice venues in Scotland.

“The big lines of Swordfish, Neapolitan and The Hex Factor were all in good, thick condition,” John concluded, “but some of the other lines were thinner than normal.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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