Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Scotland trip - Day 1 - Ben Nevis

Well i survived my Scotland trip with Kev. We certainly packed it in. Maybe not in a Paul reeve packing it in, but we felt knackered after both days! Only took a couple of beers and a burger (Hope you are not reading this Solly!) to finish us off Saturday night after a long day on the Ben. (4.30am start, up at the route for day break).

Anyway, 8.30am finds us kitting up at the bottom of Apache, a new route just to the right of Sioux Wall. Now i have never done a mixed route before so this 8/9 might have been a bit too much for a first. I set off leading the first pitch, and spend 20 minutes trying to get some gear in, which i eventually do, but am not happy with it. I piss around for another 5 minutes, and can sense i am out of my depth. I kind of suggested my feelings to Kev, who had since realised the madness of the idea already. So i down climb with difficulty back to the ground and we decide on another route. Just across the way, a route called Darth Vader. Slightly easier at Vii 8. The first pitch was a better intro to mixed climbing and i was getting used to the different techniques needed to gain vertical metres. The next pitch, and the pitch after that involved every bit of cunning i could summon to squirm up a snowy icy offwidth with a large overhang to overcome on the crux pitch. Crawling onto the top snow ledge, after all the difficulties, gripped/scared/exhausted (and i was only seconding) i felt relieved it was over. Though in a 'that was brilliant' kind of way you only get with climbing... We then did a quick solo of number 3 gully to get on top of The Ben for a great clear view with the sun on our backs.

Kev on the crux pitch of Dath Vader (Copyright Bob Wightman)

The whole day was topped off by not even getting benighted! We got back to the car without even needing to get the head torch out. My first mixed route in the bag, i was itching for more now. I saw so many classic lines i just can't wait to do. 

The Secret
To those who wait
Sioux Wall
Orion Face Direct


Ramon Marin said...

Flippin' heck mate, what a ticklist!

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