The Secret Repeated Again

Pete Macpherson contemplating the crux pitch of The Secret (VIII,9), Ben Nevis. Macherson's ascent with Martin Moran was the fifth ascent of this touchstone mixed test-piece. (Photo Pete Macpherson Collection)

Yesterday (November 23), Pete Macpherson and Martin Moran made an ascent of The Secret on Ben Nevis. This modern test-piece, high on Creag Coire na Ciste overlooking Number Three Gully, was first climbed in December 2007 by Andy Turner, Steve Ashworth and Viv Scott. Since then it has been the focus for a number of teams and Pete and Martin’s ascent is thought to be the fifth ascent.

Full of confidence from their first ascent of Omerta (VIII,9) in Coire an t-Sneachda last week, the pair made a swift ascent.  Martin led the awkward first pitch and Pete took the lead for the spectacular crux pitch. The grade is settling down at VIII,9 but most importantly, as Pete explained “The Secret is a fantastic line and great climbing.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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3 Responses to The Secret Repeated Again

  1. Tony Stone says:

    Hi Simon,
    Just a note to clarify the grade of The Secret:

    Andy originally graded his version of the route IX,9. [I believe the only person to give it X,10 may not have even been on the hill that day.] Andy is the only person to have climbed from the belay at the top of pitch1 back down to where you exit the crack on pitch1 and then go straight up the crack. You’d need 70m ropes to do the whole crack in a single pitch.

    Every other team has stepped a few feet down from the belay and then traversed the wall on edges to regain the crack a few feet higher than where you exit it on pitch1. I know Ian Parnell gave this VIII,9; Guy and Garth (seconding) thought VIII,8 [I think]; I gave it VIII,8 but Blair (seconding) thought maybe VIII,9; Ueli just thought “peu difficile” [I imagine]; Martin (seconding) says VIII,8 on his blog, I don’t know what Pete thought.

    From all this I would suggest the grade isn’t really settled at all. Yet.

    What is settled is that everyone thinks it The Secret is a top notch route. I hope this encourages more people to get on it.


  2. Simon Richardson says:

    Hi Tony
    Many thanks for the clarification – this really useful. Many folk (including me) forget that Andy climbed the entire crack on pitch 2.

  3. Guy says:

    Pete also thought VIII,8

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