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    Browsing Posts tagged Andy Inglis

    Andy Inglis high up on the fourth pitch of Reach For The Sky (VII,6) on Fuar Tholl.  This sensational route on the right flank of Mainreachan Buttress was first climbed by Martin Moran and Simon Jenkins in March 1989. It was a futuristic route for its day and featured one of the first ever winter topos published in the SMC Journal. (Photo Iain Small)

    Andy Inglis high up on the fourth pitch of Reach For The Sky (VII,6) on Fuar Tholl. This sensational route on the right flank of Mainreachan Buttress was first climbed by Martin Moran and Simon Jenkins in March 1989. It was a futuristic route for its day and featured one of the first ever winter topos published in the SMC Journal. (Photo Iain Small)

    Iain Small and Andy Inglis set out to make an early repeat of Snoopy (VII,7) on Fuar Tholl’s Mainreachan Buttress on January 17, but they found insufficient ice on the lower section of the route. Instead they made the probable second ascent of Reach for The Sky (VII,6). Although this route was first climbed in 1989, it not known to have had a second ascent

    “We managed to traverse from the belay below Snoopy’s brown groove and gain the thin traverse ledge of Reach For The Sky that leads to the steep headwall,” Iain told me.

    “We didn’t have the description for Reach For The Sky as we had set out for Snoopy, but the brown groove was not iced and looked horribly slopey and devoid of gear. I spotted the traverse ledge and just followed my nose up the steep mixed ground above. Andy then continued up the steep ground to gain an icy fault and easier ground. I’m not sure exactly how it ties in with the original line but we both felt it was Tech 7 – maybe it gets more iced up in better conditions. It was good steep climbing, pretty airy like Shoot the Breeze and it salvaged the day after backing off Snoopy. We’ll have to wait for more ice – it was amazing how little there was around Torridon given the soaking it had during the run up to Christmas!”

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Shoot the Breeze (IX,8) on Beinn Eighe. The route was first climbed in winter by Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell in January 2013 and immediately hailed as apotential modern classic. (Photo Iain Small)

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Shoot the Breeze (IX,8) on Beinn Eighe during the second ascent. This sustained and spectacular route was first climbed in winter by Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell in January 2013 and is destined to become a modern classic. (Photo Iain Small)

    On January 16, Andy Inglis , Murdoch Jamieson and Iain Small made the second ascent Shoot the Breeze (IX,9) on Beinn Eighe’s West Central Wall. This sensationally positioned route rose to prominence last year last year when it was featured in the book The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland.

    “We climbed as a three so we each got a good pitch,” Iain explained. “Andy had the first that was great climbing up a steep corner-crack, well protected but a stiff pull. I got the second pitch gaining the arête, which felt pretty intimidating as wasn’t really sure at what point to actually commit onto the arête. Murdo got the incredibly steep out there third pitch and was in his element, and there were none of his usual ‘ledge shuffling’ complaints! Andy then did a quick easier pitch to top out. The snow showers during the day had cleared and the new moon was shining so there were some great views and we could walk out without the head torches.”

    The route saw its third ascent in the hands of Uisdean Hawthorn and Tom Livingstone on January 19 who were both full of praise for the quality of the route.

    Kenton cool on the second pitch of The Needle (VIII,8) on The Shelter Stone. This iconic route in the Loch Avon Basin was first climbed in winter by Andy Nisbet and Colin MacLean in February 1985. Thirty years on it still retains its reputation as one of Scotland’s most sought after and demanding winter routes. (Photo Ian Parnell)

    Kenton Cool on the second pitch of The Needle (VIII,8) on The Shelter Stone. This iconic route in the Loch Avon Basin was first climbed in winter by Andy Nisbet and Colin MacLean in February 1985. Thirty years on it still retains its reputation as one of Scotland’s most sought after and demanding winter routes. (Photo Ian Parnell)

    Last week saw one of the standout events of the season when The Needle (VIII,8) on the Shelter Stone was ascended on consecutive days. Ian Parnell and Kenton Cool climbed the route on January 8, and the following day, Andy Inglis and Neil Adams also made an ascent.

    “It was my second route of the season after the short one I did with Dave Almond in the Corries,” Ian explained. “It was also Kenton’s first of the season and it told in terms of mental fitness once night descended at the Needle Crack, where I ended up aiding a quarter of the pitch. Having said that I gave it all I had and it was a fantastic day in so many ways, but perhaps most because I’d almost dismissed the idea of the harder routes on Shelter Stone being proper winter routes. For some reason, perhaps influenced by the chat in the 90s that it was almost impossible to get the cliff fully in condition, I’d avoided that part of the cliff.

    I’d been in contact all week with visiting Americans Steve House, Josh Wharton and Mikey Schaefer and so had a good idea that close up conditions were a lot more wintery than some reports were suggesting. With mine and Kenton’s day fixed as Friday to fit round our family commitments we were super lucky to have Thursday completing the conditions set up with all day snow and 80mph winds followed by the blue sky calm on Friday. We left the car at 4.45am and after breaking trail started climbing at 8.15am, we diagonalled in from Clach Dhian Chimney area, climbed the Steeple layback rather than the Crack for Thin Fingers mainly as we got a bit lost as the snow was making the footless ramp pitch look very different from the photos I had. We reached the bottom of the Needle Crack at twilight at which point the verglas, my lack of wide gear, and mental exhaustion (lots of excuses!) meant I ended up aiding the middle section of the pitch eventually climbing the 3-4 inch crack in the left wall to a ledge from where I could free climb up the arête. We then lost even more time trying to thread the eye of the needle which after Kenton had dug out the through tunnel he failed to get his chest through – Kenton goes to the gym a lot but he’s a lot slimmer than I am. My guess is we topped out about 9.30pm and were back at the car just after midnight. Despite my failure on the Needle Crack it was one of my most enjoyable days out and the hardest day I’ve had for a while. Guy [Robertson] reckons the route should be IX,8 as the crux is at the top and I agree. In the fully hoared up conditions we had I think the route is one of the best in Scotland!”

    The strong Scottish based team of Andy Inglis and Neil Adams had a similarly fulfilling eperience. “Neil and I had been eyeing up the forecast for most of the week, swithering on whether the crag would be absolutely buried,” Andy told me. “A prospect I could quite believe judging by the monsoon last week which for a while made escaping Aberdeenshire on the Friday night rather ‘challenging’! Our guesswork paid off, the forecast played ball with a stunning morning on Saturday, and some decent blokes had even stuck in a trail down Pinnacle Gully for us. As it happened, they seemed to also have also put in tracks up the route too, which was a bit of surprise and we spent much of the day guessing who it might have been! As for the route…. long, very sustained and high quality with the crux right at the top, which Neil dispatched in style (I assume, as it was dark by then unsurprisingly!) Its incredibly fulfilling to eventually climb a route that you spend years dreaming about, training for, watching the forecast and conditions for… and it all coming together… in many ways it was the essence of Scottish winter climbing.”

    Regarding Ian’s comment on the grade, Andy commented: “Neil led the crux so he is probably better placed to say, but I think The Needle is so sustained and situated in a serious a place to climb, that suggesting it has the same overall grade as stuff like Sioux Wall, The Gathering and The Secret (just for instance) is Bonkers. For me it was like doing a long mid grade VIII,8 into the 1st pitch of Unicorn, so I can understand Guy’s logic for his suggested grade of IX,8. Without question it’s a four star route though!”

    Andy Inglis styling up the third ascent of Pfugga-lule (VIII,9) on the impressive Happy Tyroleans wall on No. 3 Buttress in Coire an Lochain. This superb shot was taken by Dave Riley during an ascent of Savage Slit. (Photo Dave Riley).

    Andy Inglis styling up the third ascent of Pfugga-lule (VIII,9) on the impressive Happy Tyroleans wall on No. 3 Buttress in Coire an Lochain. This superb shot was taken by Dave Riley during an ascent of Savage Slit. (Photo Dave Riley).

    On Saturday December 12, Andy Inglis and Neil Adams made the third ascent of one of the Northern Corries modern test–pieces when they climbed Pfugga-lule (VIII,9) in Coire an Lochain.

    “It’s a route that has interested Neil and I for a few years,” Andy told me.  “Having seen the questionable first ascent and climbed a fair bit in the corrie and we knew the route climbs a very steep wall (overhanging), which equally inspired us and filled us with apprehension. This part of No.3 Buttress is somewhat less reliably in condition than other parts of the corrie, so it was something of a surprise to find it in hoared up nick on Saturday. Unfortunately our attempt at the first non-wad (after Charly/Matthias and Greg Boswell) ascent was flawed with me taking a fall onto my leash a move before sanctuary due to a combination of pump and creating a complex mess of leash/rope/gear tangle… early season blues! The route is generally well-protected, technical, pretty physical and well worth doing (in better style than us!).”

    Andy refers to a ‘questionable first ascent’ because Austrians Charly Fritzer and Matthias Wurzer’s first climbed Pfugga-lule on almost dry snowless rock in January 2012. When they heard feedback that these conditions were not acceptable, they returned and reclimbed the route in bona fide winter conditions after it had snowed a few days later. Charly then led the route several times for the camera, but I was unable to secure a photo for www.scottishwinter.com at the time. Copyright for these images rested with his sponsor, and it proved too difficult to obtain one.

    Teufel Grooves

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Teufel Grooves (IX,9) on Ben Nevis during the first winter ascent. This pitch is different from the summer line (which takes the first pitch of The Crack), and provides an independent start in line with the steep groove system above. (Photo Iain Small)

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Teufel Grooves (IX,9) on Ben Nevis during the first winter ascent. This pitch is different from the summer line (which takes the first pitch of The Crack), and provides an independent start in line with the steep groove system of the summer line above. (Photo Iain Small)

    Andy Inglis and Iain Small filled a notable gap on Ben Nevis on February 7 when they made the first winter ascent of Teufel Grooves (IX,9). This steep HVS was first climbed by Dave Bathgate and John Porteus in September 1969 and takes the hanging corner on the right flank of the steep lower section of Raeburn’s Buttress that is split by the prominent line of The Crack.

    “After a quick day with Murdoch on Friday doing The Shield Direct he got a text from Andy while we were enjoying the sun descending Ledge Route. A few texts later and Andy and I had agreed to meet up for Saturday on the Ben.

    The morning walk was less frosty, but after the CIC everything firmed up and we headed under Carn Dearg on a well-trodden path – not something you ever see in this usually quiet spot on mountain. We ignored the ice of The Shroud and headed up towards Raeburn’s Buttress and some mixed fun. With the grand ice conditions at that level I reckoned there would be a devious direct entry pitch to the super-steep looking Teufel Grooves that hugs the exposed right arete of the buttress.

    This winter variation start gave a fun pitch of balancy ice climbing, gradually working up and left on sloping shelves to reach the ledge, which the summer route gains from pitch 1 of The Crack. The next pitch looked steep and intimidating, but with some resolve Andy probed one start then another and committed to the wall. It looked all but blank to me but he hung in, found a bulldog then boldly headed towards the hanging corner and a hopeful crack. The dirty, mossy crack gave up some gear but required strenuous torquing with sloping footholds that were sapping his energy. By the time Andy reached the top of the corner the crack was swallowing the whole shaft of the axes while he laybacked up. Relief came with a fist crack and big hexes for a belay hanging on the edge!

    I climbed up looking at the angle of the ropes hanging free. Yeah, it was steep! The next two pitches gave excellent technical corners but nothing as steep as the second pitch and we merged with the original line of Raeburn’s Buttress on the crest.

    Overall, after a fair bit of thinking, we decided on IX,9 but low in the grade.”

    Will Sim on the third pitch of Pale Rider (VIII,9) on the Eastern Ramparts on Beinn Eighe during the second ascent. When the route was first climbed five years ago, Robin Thomas’s lead of this Tech 9 pitch was one of the finest on sight leads ever achieved at the time. (Photo Andy Inglis)

    Will Sim on the third pitch of Pale Rider (VIII,9) on the Eastern Ramparts on Beinn Eighe during the second ascent. Robin Thomas’s ascent of this pitch in 2010 was one of the earliest on sight Tech 9 leads. (Photo Andy Inglis)

    On February 5, Andy Inglis and Will Sim made the second winter ascent of Pale Rider (VIII,9) on Beinn Eighe’s Eastern Ramparts. Martin Moran and Robin Thomas first climbed this tough sounding route in February 2010.

    “With all the good weather and pictures of North-West routes in amazing condition we were both desperate to get out,” Andy told me. “Especially with Will off to Norway at the weekend for work (ice climbing in Norway, is that really ‘work’?)

    As it turned out, the day dawned with drizzle, sleet and low cloud and the crux of the day might have been leaving the car. Nearly three hours of slogging through wet snow up Beinn Eighe had us on top, with the freezing level hovering somewhere around the top. Hopes were not high! Dropping into the corrie and moist cloud had us wading about looking for something appropriate after initial hopes of a Far East wall route were dashed, so traversing round to the Eastern Ramparts was the obvious next option.

    As it turned out Will lost patience looking for the start of Boggle and headed straight up into the corner line of Pale Rider. Belaying Will on this first pitch may have been the grimmest period of this winter for me… drizzle rolling past, soaking clothing, and my desire for coffee and warm clothes going through the roof. Fortunately the climbing was superb, engrossing and technical, with three great well-protected pitches! The added unexpected bonus was the third pitch that Martin had written so engagingly of on his excellent blog turned out to be straightforward (in daylight, maybe that was cheating?). The wall was encased in thick rime the like of which neither of us had seen on this wall before, and there was even hero ice up the final chimney of Pale Diedre! Pale Rider is certainly a high quality addition to the wall and definitely three stars!”

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Godzilla (IX,8) on Beinn Bhan during the second ascent. This route was first climbed by Guy Robertson, Pete Benson and Nick Bullock in March 2011 and was among the first few Grade IX’s in Scotland to receive an on sight first ascent. (Photo Iain Small)

    Andy Inglis on the first pitch of Godzilla (IX,8) on Beinn Bhan during the second ascent. This route was first climbed by Guy Robertson, Pete Benson and Nick Bullock in March 2011 and was one of the first few Grade IX’s in Scotland to receive an on sight first ascent. (Photo Iain Small)

    On January 24, Iain Small, Andy Inglis and Murdoch Jamieson made the second ascent of Godzilla (IX,8) in Coire nan Fhamair on Beinn Bhan. This exceptionally steep expedition is a direct version of The Godfather, taking an intricate line through the lower wall, before climbing two pitches of The Godfather corner to finish.

    “I managed to hook up with Andy and Murdoch and we eventually settled on walking into Beinn Bhan to take a look,” Iain told me. “We packed some screws to keep our options open but hoped the quick thaw on the Friday hadn’t made much impact and that the freezing level would be low enough and the crag sheltered.

    After a rather snowy and exciting drive we walked into increasingly grim weather with heavy graupel squalls blinding us and wavering our thoughts. As conditions underfoot began to firm up we could spot the crag through the poor dawn light and things looked wintry. We grabbed the chance to gear up in a brief lull and avoided too much misery. The previous evening’s route of choice was now a bit too real, but we silently climbed the remaining slopes to below the monumental wall and by some consensus Andy tied in and started the journey.

    Six pitches later we topped out in the dark and wind, the thaw hadn’t caught up yet and we were all tired, relieved and even happy. There really is nothing so essentially ‘winter only’ as an outing on those looming prehistoric cliffs!”

    Andy Inglis on the second pitch of Tomahawk Crack (VIII,9) on Number Three Gully Buttress on Ben Nevis. The second pitch continues up the narrow crack at the top of the picture in line with Andy’s helmet. (Photo Will Sim)

    Andy Inglis on the second pitch of Tomahawk Crack (VIII,9) on Number Three Gully Buttress on Ben Nevis. The third pitch continues up the narrow crack at the top of the picture in line with Andy’s helmet. (Photo Will Sim)

    Will Sim and Andy Inglis enjoyed an excellent two days on the Ben at the beginning of this week. On Sunday December 6 they made an ascent of Sidewinder (VII,7) on South Trident Buttress. This route has become popular in recent seasons and is good early in the winter as it is a pure snowed-up rock route. Their ascent was particularly impressive as Sunday was a wild and stormy day on the West, especially high up on Ben Nevis.

    The main event took place on the following day (December 7) when Will and Andy made the second ascent of Tomahawk Crack (VIII,9). This futuristic-looking line to the right of Sioux Wall on Number Three Gully Buttress was first climbed by Greg Boswell and Adam Russell in November 2012.

    “It’s a mega route and has the hallmarks of a future classic,” Will told me “Two hard pitches, the first thin, techy and run out and the second steep and pumpy – brilliant! A great find by Greg.”

    Elsewhere on the Ben, activity has been slowly picking up with routes climbed lower down on the mountain such as Jacknife, The Great Chimney and the South-West Ridge of the Douglas Boulder – all sensible choices in the current wild and windy weather.

    Greg Boswell on the first ascent of Making the Cut (VIII,8) on Beinn Eighe. The route climbs through the stepped roofs before taking the soaring crack line to the left of West Central Gully. (Photo Nick Bullock)

    Greg Boswell on the first ascent of Making the Cut (VIII,8) on Beinn Eighe. This stupendous route climbs through stepped roofs before taking the soaring crack line to the left of West Central Gully. (Photo Nick Bullock)

    The gales that raged throughout the BMC Winter Meet prompted many team to visit the North-West Highlands to seek some shelter from the South-East winds. This proved to be an unexpected bonus, as the Torridon Mountains were in excellent winter condition.

    Beinn Eighe, with its high north-facing cliffs was the initial venue of choice, and the classic lines of Fuselage Gully, East Buttress, West Buttress and Central Buttress soon saw ascents. On Wednesday January 29, Will Sim and Michelle Kadatz from Canada made the fourth ascent of the fabled West Central Gully (VII,8), arguably the most difficult gully climb in Scotland. Will came back raving about the climb, mightily impressed that Mick Fowler and Mike Morrison climbed this steep route way back in 1986. Also on Wednesday, Neil Adams and Nejc Marcic (Slovenia) made a possible second ascent of second ascent of  Sting (VII,7) , Andy Inglis and Martin Zumer (Slovenia) made the third ascent of Hydroconicum (VIII,8), and Dave Almond and Michal Sabovcik (Slovakia) climbed the now classic Blood, Sweat and Frozen Tears (VIII,8).

    The following day (January 30), the pace stepped up another notch when Nick Bullock, Jon Walsh (Canada) and Greg Boswell made the first ascent of Making the Cut (VIII,8), a major new line taking the soaring crack-line left of West Central Gully. Will Sim and Olov Isaksson (Sweden) also added Crazy Eyes (VII,9), another very strong line taking the left-facing corner, roof crack and offwidth corner above Hydroponicum. (The name is a tribute to Magnus Kastengren who represented Sweden at the last BMC Winter Meet and died recently after an accident when skiing on Mount Cook). Will and Olov climbed their new route so fast that they had time to nip up the classic West Buttress later that day. Andy Inglis made a return visit with Piotr Sulowski (Poland) and climbed the brilliant Sundance (VIII,8), and Simon Frost and partner made an early repeat of West Buttress Directissima (VII,8).

    The last day of the week (Saturday, February 1) saw something of a North-West showdown. Beinn Eighe continued to stay popular with more ascents of Central Buttress, Shang High, Kami-kaze and another ascent of Sundance by Dave Almond and Gustav Mellgren (Sweden), but the centre of the activity transferred to Beinn Bhan where there were four teams in action in the stupendous Coire nan Fhamair. Nick Wallis and Tito Arosio (Italy) climbed Gully of the Gods (VI,6) and Adam Booth and Slovenian climbers Nejc Marcic and Martin Zumer made an early repeat of Great Overhanging Gully (VI,7). Genesis (VII,7) saw its fourth ascent in the hands of Andy Inglis and Piotr Solowski (Poland), and Will Sim and Olov Isaksson (Sweden) also made the fourth ascent of The Godfather (VIII,8).

    Nearby in Coire na Poite, Neil Silver and Kenshi Imai from Japan pulled off the long-awaited second ascent of the 370m-long Realisation (VI,6). “It was a top quality route with sustained interest throughout,” Neil told me. “It’s at the top end of the grade and a harder outing than Central Buttress on Beinn Eighe.”

    The easily accessible winter cliffs on Meall Gorm proved popular. Gwilym Lynn and Felix Sattelberger (Germany) added a Direct Start (IV,4) to Cobalt Buttress, and Ian Parnell and Michelle Kadatz made a variation to The Blue Lamppost taking Grade VI vegetated grooves in the lower section before finishing up the final chimney to give a good VII,8. Just to the right, Rattlesnake (V,7) also saw an ascent. Elsewhere in the Torridon area, George (III,4), Poacher’s Fall (V,5) and Headless Gully (V,5) on Liathach were climbed in good icy conditions, and further south on Fuar Tholl, Right-End Buttress (III) was enjoyed by at least two parties.

    The most impressive achievement on the final day however, was the first ascent of Last Orders (VII,8) on An Teallach by Neil Adams and Kenro Nakajima (Japan). This magnificent groove-line, which cuts through the right side Major Rib, was one of the most significant routes of the week.

    Nick Bullock climbing Extasy (VIII,8) on Creag Meagaidh. The third ascent of this legendary route on the second day of the BMC Winter Meet set the tone for the rest of the week. Despite poor weather, more new routes and high standard repeats were achieved than ever before. (Photo Jon Walsh)

    Nick Bullock climbing Extasy (VIII,8) on Creag Meagaidh. The third ascent of this legendary route on the second day of the BMC Winter Meet set the tone for the rest of the week. Despite poor weather, more new routes and high standard repeats were achieved than ever before. (Photo Jon Walsh)

    The BMC Winter International Meet took place between January 27 and February 1. The meet was based at Glenmore Lodge, and 44 guests from 26 countries paired up with UK hosts to experience the delights of Scottish winter climbing. Despite the challenging weather and almost continuous gale force easterly winds, the meet was an outstanding success with over a dozen new routes and a significant number of repeats. Once again, Becky McGovern and Nick Colton from the BMC did a superb job keeping everyone teamed up with appropriate partners and staying cool and calm whilst fixing innumerable logistical issues.

    The big route from the early part of the meet was the third ascent of Extasy (VIII,8) on Creag Meagaidh by Nick Bullock with Canadian climber Jon Walsh on January 28. This long, serious and poorly protected route, which was first climbed during the 2005 Winter Meet by Bruno Sourzac and Dave Hesleden, has only been repeated once. Nick and Jon encountered difficult thin and ‘cruddy’ ice conditions. “Even Jon, who has done more hard Rockies alpine routes than most, was slowed down by the first pitch,” said Nick afterwards. In general, the snow was too heavy for good climbing on Meagaidh, although one determined team succeeded on Staghorn Gully.

    Ian Parnell and Michelle Kadatz from Canada took advantage of a very snowy Ben Nevis to make the fourth winter ascent of Centurion (VIII,8) on Carn Dearg Buttress. Although this route was first climbed in winter 28 years ago, it has maintained its reputation as one of the more difficult Scottish Grade VIIIs. This ascent rounded off an exceptional three days for Michelle who had already made the third ascent of Slenderhead (VIII,8) on Stob Coire nan Lochan and the fourth ascent of West Central Gully (VII,8) on Beinn Eighe.

    In Coire Ciste, Greg Boswell and Mirko Breckner from Germany made the second ascent of Heidbanger (VIII,8) on Central Trident Buttress. This challenging winter climb is graded E1 in summer and was first climbed by Rich Cross and Andy Benson in 2007. Nearby on South Trident Buttress, Fiona Murray and Siw Ornhaug from Norway repeated Gallifrey Groove (IV,5).

    Tower Ridge saw multiple ascents and was a wise choice in the conditions, but the low snow level also brought The Douglas Boulder into play. The classic South-West Ridge, Cutlass and Militant Chimney saw ascents, and on January 28, Neil Silver and Kenshi Imai from Japan climbed Nutless and added the Arete Variation (VI,6). The weather was wild the following day (January 29), but Rose Pearson from New Zealand and myself followed the summer line of East Ridge (IV,5). Rather surprisingly, I can find no record of a winter ascent of this short and accessible climb, which proved to be a good route for a stormy day. I returned again on January 30 with Stefan Jacobsen from Denmark to climb Alaska Highway (IV,4), the crest of the buttress taken by Lower East Wall Route before finishing up Tower Ridge.

    Dave Almond and Gustav Mellgren from Sweden braved the higher slopes of Coire na Ciste to climb Sidewinder adding the Unwound Finish (VI,6) which climbs up directly rather than traversing left into the exit gully as per the original route. The rarely climbed 1944 Route also saw an ascent by Ian Bryant and Pawel Wojdyga (Poland), and lower down on Carn Dearg Buttress Kenton Cool and Corne Brouwer from the Netherlands climbed Route One. Nearby on Am Bodach in the Mamores, Andy Nisbet and Ricardo Guerra from Portugal made the first ascent of the 350m-high South Buttress (II).

    Further South, Stob Coire nan Lochan was in superb icy condition and ascents were made of Scabbard Chimney, Sceptre, Raeburn’s Route, SC Gully, Moonshadow, Tilt, Chimney Route, Crest Route, Para Andy and Central Grooves.

    Greg Boswell and Mirko Breckner and Andy Inglis and Martin Zumer (Slovenia) made early repeats of Central Buttress with the Starting Blocks Start (VII,8), and Slenderhead (VIII,8) saw second and third ascents by Will Sim and Michelle Kadatz (Canada) and Ian Parnell and Olov Isaksson (Sweden). The finest performance in the corrie came from Harry Holmes and Polish climber Piotr Sulowski who made an ascent of Unicorn (VIII,8). Not only was Harry recently back from the Ice World Cup, but Piotr’s ascent of the difficult second pitch was his first ever Scottish winter lead!