Gully of the Sods

The Crescent Gully area in the Inner Corrie of Creag Meagaidh. The prominent curling line of Crescent Gully (III) lies to the left, and the new Davies-O’Sullivan line Gully of the Sods (VI,6), takes the icy line to the right. The direct line through the overhang (with the thin hanging icicle) above the halfway ledge (taken by Quasimodo (III)) was tackled by going left then right. Fly Me to the Moon (VII,8) climbs the overhanging wall to the right. (Photo Simon Richardson)

Unaware of the first ascent of Fly Me to the Moon nine days before, Pete Davies and Donie O’Sullivan also visited the Crescent Gully area of Creag Meagaidh and made the superb first ascent of Gully of the Sods (VI,6) on January 29.

“We went to Meagaidh to look at a line we spotted last year,” Pete told me. “It turned out to be a brilliant gully with two excellent pitches. Steep in places but there was lots of useful ice and turf and an exciting mixed traverse to outflank a big overhang. It was a bit like Great Overhanging Gully [on Beinn Bhan] in miniature! It’s not in the guide and I couldn’t see a mention of it in any of my journals but I may have missed something. Interestingly, before the crux of the second pitch, there was a peg with a long sling and a pair of ‘biners left on it (I’d guess from its condition that it was about five years old). Someone had obviously been here before. I reckon that the gear was either left by someone retreating or it was used as a back rope to protect the second and the ascent went unrecorded.”

It turns out that the retreat gear was over ten years old and Pete and Donie had indeed made the first ascent. The direct version of the route had been attempted in the winter of 2000. The team had their heart set on the direct line through the roofs, which they were unable to climb, so they abseiled off leaving it for another day.

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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3 Responses to Gully of the Sods

  1. Pete Davies says:

    Hi Simon

    The date is wrong. It was the 29th of January. I’d love to think I was fit and fast enough to climb on Meagaidh and Garbh Coire in the same day but this is definately not the case! This is Simon’s photo (we forgot our camera) taken a week before our ascent. There was quite a bit more ice formed by the time we came to do it. There was potential for good screws in a number of places but we hadn’t brought any with us. On the second pitch, our line goes left under the triangular black roof and then traverses back right across the snowy wall above the lip of this roof to reach the left side of the icicles hanging from the upper gully.

  2. Michael Barnard says:

    The halfway ledge is surely the “spectacular narrow ledge” of Last Lap (Crab Crawl) – Quasimodo lies further right. I think the diagram in the Nevis guide is wrong with the line marked Longfellow actually approximating Quasimodo, Longfellow lying further right.

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