White Lies on Skye

Mark Francis (Beads) on the first ascent of the 280m-long White Lies (IV,5) on the South Face of Sgurr nan Gillean on Skye. Dave Ritchie and Neil Marshall's route White Dreams (IV,5, 2000) is the prominent central line in the background. (Photo Mike Lates)

Cuillin mountain guide and guidebook author Mike Lates, together with Ben Wear and Mark Francis (Beads) visited the South Face of Gillean yesterday (December 15), and made the first ascent of White Lies (IV,5), a seven-pitch ice line about 50 metres to the right of Dave Ritchie and Neil Marshall’s route White Dreams (IV,5,) which was first climbed in the winter of 2000.

“Things are looking very rosy over here after so many freeze-thaw cycles’” Mike told me. “The Ridge is in good condition for a Traverse. There is possibly small breakdown in the weather forecast for Monday, so folk need to jump to it, although temperatures look like staying cold enough just to add to the build-up.

There’s been ice growing in abundance above about 650m, so still a need for patience and crossed fingers for something as huge as The Smear to be justifiable, but plenty of useful ice on the mixed lines.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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