Top team Martin Moran and Pete Macpherson made a stunning addition to Beinn Eighe on Tuesday (January 11) when they made the first winter ascent of King of the Swingers on the Far East Wall. This E3 6b, which takes the big corners left of Vishnu, was first climbed by Brian Davison, John Lyall and Andy Nisbet in June 1992. It sports a ferociously thin crux which traverses left under a huge roof, although this section can be circumvented by a pendulum which reduces the overall grade to E1.
Unfortunately Pete and Martin just missed out on the on-sight as Pete needed to take a rest point after completing the crux traverse free on his third attempt. “It was a bold lead,” Martin told me, ” because Pete elected not to go up to the high runner placement in the roof [as for the pendulum]. That would have been very awkward and would have required a three-metre downclimb of tech 8 moves. So the crux was tackled with runners way out right at waist height and the threat of a nasty swing back into the corner had he come off. Thankfully he had just got a cam clipped in the main crack when he pinged off on the first crucial attempt!”
The crack was hands-width and very strenuous to climb, with five or six moves of tech 8 one after the other.
“We reckoned VIII,10 as a proper grade because the summer 6b traverse was super-thin,” Martin explained. “The upper 50 metres were fantastic sustained VII,7!”
Congratulations to Pete and Martin for another outstanding addition and for pushing the technical envelope in the far-flung North-West.