Scottishwinter.com

    Scottish winter climbing news

    Browsing Posts tagged Scott Kirkhope

    The North Face of Aonach Beag from the Aonach Mor-Aonach Beag Col with the line of Highway Robbery marked in red. The steep icefall of Stand and Deliver (V,5) is the next prominent lie to the left. The face has been in good condition recently and the rarely climbed Camilla (V,5) and Blackout (IV,5) have also seen ascents. (Photo Ken Applegate)

    The North Face of Aonach Beag from the Aonach Mor-Aonach Beag Col with the line of Highway Robbery (III) marked in red. The steep icefall of Stand and Deliver (V,5) is the next prominent line to the left. The face has been in good condition recently and the rarely climbed Camilla (V,5) and Blackout (IV,5) have also seen ascents. (Photo Ken Applegate)

    The North Face of Aonach Beag has been icing up nicely over the last three weeks, and there have been several ascents of the Robin Clothier-Chris Cartwright test piece Stand and Deliver (V,5). I say test piece, because many teams find it very steep for Grade V, but when Robin and Chris first climbed it by nipping across from the CIC Hut one fine day in April 1989, they graded it IV.

    On January 19, Scott Kirkhope, Ken Applegate and Hannah Evans made the first ascent of Highway Robbery (III), the short ice line to the right of the existing routes. They were on their way to climb Stand and Deliver, but lost their way in the mist.

    “We were in the cloud whilst walking over Aonach Mor and down to the col, and the visibility was pretty poor, “ Ken explained. “We descended from the col, and simply started climbing too soon, as we should have descended a further 50m or so. We realised our error soon after starting out on the first pitch, but thought that it would be easier to finish the line, and then head back round to the col and back to Stand and Deliver, rather than to backtrack.

    It turned out that the main icefall of Stand and Deliver was completely obvious, even in the mist, once we were stood directly beneath the route!”

    Dave Almond making an early repeat of Tuberculosis (VI,6) on Stob Coire nan Lochan. This rarely climbed two-pitch route takes the steep groove right of Crest Route and was first ascended by Dave Hollinger and Guy Willett in February 2004. (Photo Helen Rennard)

    Dave Almond making an early repeat of Tuberculosis (VI,6) on Stob Coire nan Lochan. This rarely climbed two-pitch route takes the steep groove right of Crest Route and was first ascended by Dave Hollinger and Guy Willett in February 2004. (Photo Helen Rennard)

    Last week (December 10-14) was undoubtedly the week of the winter so far. Heavy snowfall was consolidated by a mini-thaw the previous weekend followed by stable cold weather with no wind and blue skies.

    Several of the major events have already been reported on scottishwinter.com – Guy Robertson and Greg Boswell’s first ascent of the Vapouriser (VIII,9) on Creag an Dubh Loch, Martin Moran and Pete Macpherson’s third ascent of Steeple (IX,9) on the Shelter Stone and Andy Nisbet and Brain Davison’s good run of new routes in Glen Coe and An Teallach.

    The Cuillin Ridge came into good conditions and four teams made the winter traverse. Both Scott Kirkhope and Ken Applegate and John Orr and Ronnie made a traditional outing with a bivouac, whilst the Fort William-based team of Guy Steven, Donald King, Kenny Grant and Duncan made a lightning-quick traverse in only 12 hours. This is very respectable time for a summer ascent and the team was aided by King’s intimate knowledge of the route. All these ascents were widely reported on various blogs and Twitter, but more impressive perhaps was a solo traverse by Barry Smyth with one bivouac. The Cuillin Ridge has been traversed in winter solo before, but to do it mid-winter with precious little daylight and long nights takes a very special resolve.

    Dave Almond had a good run of routes with Helen Rennard. They started off with The Secret/Cornucopia Combination (VII,8) on Ben Nevis, followed by Tyrannosaur (VI,7) on Lost Valley Buttress in Glen Coe. On their third day they climbed Sidewinder (VII,8) on the Ben and finished off their four-day spell with an early repeat of Tuberculosis (VI,7) on Stob Coire an Lochan. Dave then teamed up with Guy Steven and Blair Fyffe to climb Sticil Face (V,6) on the Shelter Stone with the Direct Finish.