On January 24, Iain Small visited Skye with Doug Hawthorn and made the first complete winter ascent of Slanting Gully on Sgurr a’Mhadaidh’s North Face. The route passes over Foxes Rake at half height and had previously been climbed to this point by Mike Lates and T.Hanly in December 2004.
“We crossed the Rake and finished up the top half in three long pitches,” Iain told me. “It gave a good mixed, and even icy fault, with a steep crack for Doug on the final pitch. The summer description has the line weaving around the fault line but we tackled it direct – a better option in winter! On the day it seemed about VI,7 with some helpful consolidated snow. We were surprised to see plenty of footprints around the Coire, but what a great choice. Everyone must have felt charmed finding those conditions; it’s a wholly different experience to find such great conditions on Skye compared with the more established areas. Twice in one week [for me] was a privilege!”