Lochnagar Update

Greg Boswell on the second pitch of Scarface Wall (VIII,8) on Lochnagar. This steep mixed route, which curves leftwards across the impressive steep right wall of Raeburn’s Gully, was first climbed by Guy Robertson and Ian Parnell in April 2006. (Photo Will Sim)

Fresh from their outstanding success on Stone Temple Pilots on the Shelter Stone, Greg Boswell and Will Sim visited Lochnagar on Sunday December 18. Their intention was to make the second ascent of Crazy Sorrow (IX,10), which received its first full winter ascent in the hands of Guy Robertson and Pete Benson last season. (The crux pitch had previously been climbed by Alan Mullin and Steve Lynch, but they abseiled off without climbing the difficult third pitch and did not complete the route).

Will added a more difficult entry pitch, before Greg pulled over the crux roof but decided that the upper part of the pitch was not sufficiently icy. The pair decided to retreat, and by way of consolation, they climbed Scarface Wall (VIII,8), a Guy Robertson-Ian Parnell creation on the right wall of Raeburn’s Gully. They completed the first three pitches (all the independent climbing) to join The Straight-Jacket, before deciding to abseil back into Raeburn’s Gully to reach their rucksacks as it became dark. I’ll leave the ethics on whether this constitutes a true second ascent or not, to others, but since the 1980s there has been a tradition of abseiling down from difficult routes on Lochnagar (i.e. on The Pinnacle and Tough Brown Face) once easy ground has been reached. (Unfortunately, Alan Mullin and Steve Lynch did not climb as far as easy ground on their Crazy Sorrow attempt in 2002).

A steady flow of routes have been climbed on Lochnagar so far this season including Quick Dash Crack, Spellbound, Transept Route and Shadowlands. Pete Davies, Tim Marsh and Donnie O’Sullivan made an ascent of The Link Direct on the Pinnacle, and on the Tough-Brown Face, Dave Almond and Simon Frost climbed Tough Guy, taking the corner direct on the second pitch, and suggesting an overall grade of VII,8. They also dismissed the 1980s Lochnagar tradition, and climbed the full height of the cliff, to finish on the plateau.

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
This entry was posted in Repeats and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Lochnagar Update

  1. Guy Rob says:

    Simon – the boys abbed off before the Straight Jacket so no cigar on this occasion I’m afraid!!! Tut tut…:-)

  2. James Edwards says:

    Id be interested to know what Almond and Frost found on the crux pitch of Tough Guy. Was there any ice? I climbed this with Gareth Hughes a few years ago and thought it very hard and wondered if other ascents had either had a dribble of ice on it or turf which was now missing.

  3. Andy Nisbet says:

    I doubt they will be claiming an ascent, as the crux of Straight-Jacket is not easy ground, even these days . I knew you shouldn’t have given Scarface Wall a separate name (I remember trying to persuade you), as calling it the more accurate Straight-Jacket Direct Start and solves any doubt. Not that I expect the lads care.

  4. Will Sim says:

    This is actually the first i’ve even heard of it being a potential second ascent, we literally flicked the page in the guide and saw a two star VIII, thought it must be relatively nearby, and headed in that direction! not wanting the day to be a right-off. Although funnily enough as we were walking out i did say to Greg ” i wonder how often a route like that gets done?”

  5. Guy Rob says:

    Andy, we climbed three pitches into the Straight Jacket, none of which were direct (they mostly trend leftwards) and all of which, when added to the Straight Jacket, made for a very logical and natural line. So calling it Straight Jacket Direct would have been a total misnomer IMHO.

    You’re right about one thing though – Straight Jacket was as hard as anything else on the route, and felt gnarly after the tricky climbing below!

  6. Simon Richardson says:

    To set the record straight, I think it’s worth taking note of Will’s post above. It was me who made reference to a possible second ascent of Scarface – Will made no such claim on his blog.

  7. On 26th Feb Ryo Matsumoto and I repeated the second pitch of Tough Guy direct. Si + Dave made a good decision here, to continue up the corner is the obvious line and features some great technical climbing. Going around the left rib seems a bit random and slightly odd with such a good feature straight above you!

    In response to James’s question regarding ice on the crux pitch: we had none, it was hard. I thought the third pitch was a step up from the rest, even with the direct variation on the second.

Comments are closed.