Steven Andrews and Dave Allan scored a notable coup on March 31when they made the first winter ascent of The Gully (IV,4) on the remote Alladale Slabs in the Northern Highlands. As far as I know, this is the first time this impressive 300m-high crag has been climbed in winter.
“Both myself and Dave had been out to look at this line on several occasions,” Steven told me. “Dave first looked at it 25 years ago, and this time we were pretty happy to find it in condition after the ever long approach. What was a surprise was that it was so banked out with snow, but this let us access the upper part of the gully, which had always previously been the problem. What ice there was, was still thin and a bit hollow in places but there was just enough and made for some exciting moments round the crux which involved a hasty traverse on to some mixed ground as the ice became very hollow. It is a brilliant line in a remote place and with no one to be seen on the Easter weekend though – perfect. There were amazing conditions up that way with the Alladale Pillar making a rare appearance.”