Hard New Test-Piece for the Northern Corries

Martin Moran on the first pitch of Omerta (VIII,9) on Fiacaill Buttress, Coire an t-Sneachda. The steep wall that provided the crux second pitch can be seen at the top of the picture. (Photo Pete MacPherson)

I’d heard rumours on the grapevine of a hard new addition in Coire an t-Sneachda by Pete MacPherson and Martin Moran on Saturday (November 13), so I was delighted when Pete contacted me last night with details of their ascent.

Omerta climbs the thin crack-line on the left wall of Belhaven on Fiacaill Buttress. Martin led the awkward entry pitch (tech 7) and then Pete led the thin crack through the steep blank wall above. This was very sustained (tech 9) and difficult to protect and unfortunately Pete had to take a rest just one move below easy ground at the top of the pitch. Martin then led the final steep crack up the final wall (another tech 8 pitch), which fortunately was better protected.

Omerta was graded VIII,9 and takes its place alongside the likes of Daddy Longlegs (VIII,9) and Demon Direct (IX,9) as one of the more challenging test-pieces of the Northern Corries. “Overall we felt VIII,9 was a fair grade’” Pete told me, “and in keeping with other short hard routes in the Corries – i.e. not a soft touch!”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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