Livingstone On a Roll

Tom Livingstone making an early repeat of Happy Tyroleans (IX,10) in Coire an Lochain. This fierce Northern Corries test-piece was first climbed by the Austrian team of Florian Schranz, Heinz Zak and Egon Netzer during the 2001 International Winter Meet and is one of the most difficult new Scottish winter routes ever put up by an overseas team. (Photo Ryan Balharry)

It has been a challenging season so far with limited snow during the first part of the winter and a continuous run of storms through January and February. High standard climbing and new route activity has been (literally) thin on the ground. Determination, enthusiasm, and talent can take you a long way in Scottish winter however, and Tom Livingstone has just returned to Chamonix after a two-week trip that yielded a very impressive run of routes:

6 Feb – Central Grooves (VII,7), Stob Coire nan Lochan, with Tim Exley, Callum Johnson

8 Feb – Hobgoblin (VI,7), Ben Nevis with Callum Johnson

8 Feb – Hanging Garden (VII,8), Ben Nevis with Callum Johnson

8 Feb – Winter Chimney (IV,5), Ben Nevis with Callum Johnson

8 Feb – Lost the Place (V,5), Ben Nevis with Callum Johnson

9 Feb – Point Five Gully (V,5), Ben Nevis with Tom Seccombe, Tim Exley

9 Feb – Indicator Wall (V,4), Ben Nevis (solo)

9 Feb – Smith’s Route (V,5), Ben Nevis with Tom Seccombe, Tim Exley

10 Feb –Tomahawk Crack (VIII,9), Ben Nevis with Tom Seccombe

11 Feb – Bavarinthia (IX,9), Coire an Lochain with Tom Seccombe

13 Feb – Happy Tyroleans (IX,10), Coire an Lochain with Tom Seccombe

15 Feb – Bandit (VII,8), Beinn Eighe with Ella Wright

18 Feb – Immortal Memory (IX,9), Beinn Eighe with Matt Glenn, Callum Johnson

19 Feb – Local Hero (VIII,9), An Teallach with Matt Glenn, Callum Johnson

Tom’s trip included the Young Alpinist Group meet and a week welcoming some Slovenian friends to the delights of Scotland.

“I’m back home now but I kind of wish I could stay another month in Scotland” Tom told me. “I really enjoyed the two weeks I spent there, and although Scotland is tricky it’s flipping amazing! I guess we were lucky with the weather and conditions and fingers crossed it stays good for you all! There were so many routes I remembered I’d wanted to do for ages, and unfortunately the list is only getting longer! I was focussed on the Young Alpinist Group and climbed with them and we climbed some tricky routes that I’d wanted to do for a while. We also hosted some Slovenian friends (strong but new to Scottish winter). I’ll try to make the next trip a more personal one!”

Postscript 23 Feb: Greg Boswell made the following comment on Instagram regarding the grade of Happy Tyroleans – “I personally think this route needs the same treatment as when The Secret got given X,10. It’s majorly over-graded and this factor is probably stopping people from trying it. Happy Tyroleans is VIII,9 at the most, maybe even Tech 8. Not bringing this up as anything to do with Tom’s ascent, I just really enjoyed the route and think many others would too if the word got out that it’s not what the guidebook suggests. Just thought I’d comment this as @simon_scottishwinter is prob the best way to get the word out there before any new guidebooks etc.”

Thank you Greg for the very helpful feedback. For consistency, I always use the published grade in my reports unless there is a strong consensus otherwise, but hopefully your comment will encourage more folk to try the route.

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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4 Responses to Livingstone On a Roll

  1. mike barnard says:

    Hi Simon, did you mean Beinn Eighe re Immortal Memory? Looks like the 3rd ascent probably.

  2. Viv Scott says:

    Oooft – that’s an impressive tally! First I’ve heard of Bandits being repeated (assuming means the fuselage wall route). Wonder how found it? as discussed with Andy Nisbet – who went and did line just to right long suspect took a bit of a perverse line/sequence and it’s quite likely grade easier if not wearing blinkers! Viv

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