The Orphan – First Winter Ascent

Steve Holmes leading The Orphan (VII,8) on Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Coe. Heavy snow conditions meant that accessing the route via Curved Ridge was a mini expedition in itself. (Photo Duncan Curry)

On December 14, Steve Holmes, Duncan Curry and Hannah Evans made the first winter ascent of The Orphan (VII,8) on the North-East Face of Crowberry Ridge on The Buachaille. This summer VS, which was first climbed by Messrs. Read, Jones and Swainbank in September 2000, lies on the steep wall cut by cracks and corners to the right of Engineer’s Crack and Crowberry Ridge, Direct Route.

“It was a proper full-on wade to gain the foot of the chimney that accesses the platform under the main pitch,” Steve told me. “But we battled on accepting it was going to be a long day. Hannah dug her way up Curved Ridge, Duncan got us up the awkward chimney and I got the main pitch.

It’s super sustained, steep and really good climbing and easily worth VII,8. The gear is excellent but all kinds of hand jams, knee bars along with flat hooks were needed to gain upward movement. I took a small fall on the crux which I am really disappointed with, but I managed to get straight back on finding a better sequence second time round.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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One Response to The Orphan – First Winter Ascent

  1. Erick Baillot says:

    Great picture. Looks steep!

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