/ Minus One Direct - Where on earth does it go?
So far we've been very disappointed with what we assumed would be a classic route and are wondering whether it's worth the effort to try and find it again properly!
Has anybody done it who could make sense of the descriptions in either the SMC definitive or the Gary Latter guide?
I've attached a link to a topo I've drawn over the photo of the buttress on here and wondered if anybody can shed any light as to where we should've gone - I've labelled a few bits I thought could be helpful - the green arrows are where I thought in retrospect, with the stance with the text most closely resembling the description for the end of P4 - block belay below the wide crack and overhang for the original 4b version.
You too far to the right?
I took this picture of people on what I was informed to be minus one direct from observatory ridge last summer.
The two chaps are further left than your original starting line.
It's 25 years since I did it and several books ago, but I was disappoined too, and the description was confusing.
Where you went diagonally left (before descending) and show a belay, that belay is on and below the groove of Subtraction. So your two green arrows further right are probably correct. The topo picture on p166 of Scottish Rock Climbs (SMC selective) shows that groove of Subtraction in deep shade with the correct line on the crest to its right. But the picture is so distant I wouldn't take it too literally.
we did some head scratching on some of the pitches but always eventually found our way through it on pitches that seemed to fit the description!
Had an amazing day out, the situation is amazing, but was disapointed with the quality of the rock. Some dangerous poised rocks when we did it.
We used the Latter guide and some head scratching...I remember some parts were counter intuitive but the info was useful, its all there. I thought the route was great. Yes there was some parts that were not that good, think second pitch was worst for bad rock. However, the good bits, location and length more than made up for it; it is a long route mountain route so would be a big ask for quality rock the whole way!
Can email further details on route if needed when I have guide book to hand to jog memory!
> It's 25 years since I did it and several books ago, but I was disappoined too, and the description was confusing.
Ditto but 37 years ago. We reckoned a good mountaineering day out but as far as quality climbing goes not the best, and also felt a bit dis-satisfied given it's reputation. We happened to follow another party which turned out to be led by Ken Crockett - was he doing a fairly early repeat of his 1972 "Serendipity" variation (the name of which gives a clue to the route finding difficulties hereabouts) and did we therefore do it? I may never know!
Climbed it 5 years ago.
No major problems with route finding but may have had a photocopy of Kev Howetts selected as well as the SMC guide.
Kevs advice for the descent was best, traverse off left on grassy ledges to the scree, all quite easy. This means leaving sacks at the base of NE buttress to minimize rock boot hobble.
Don't get this. Howett's description is 40m shorter in total. The description in Latter's is identical to the SMC, except that Latter has added 5m to four of the pitches (presumably just to be different).
P3 in SMC: 25m, 4c. shallow groove to block, crack on R, then short walls moving left to niche. step right and climb to top of vast plinth.
P3 in Latter: 45m, 4c (same wording as SMC)
P2* in Howett: 24m, 4c. shallow groove to block, crack on R, then short walls moving left to niche
P3 in Howett: 18m. R and easily to top of huge plinth.
I think that Latter has generally rounded pitches to the next multiple of 5m.
*Howett ignores the first scrambly pitch in Latter/SMC
The SMC definitive guide worked fine for us (about 15 years ago...) - seem to recall alot of easier climbing (first 2 pitches damp) with a few nice moves/pitches (Serendipity and/or Arete variations of memory serves??) and then lots more easy ground (lots) on to NEB. Happy memories as we only had one headtorch between us, finished NEB in the dark and came out onto a sea of cloud + full moon above 100m below the summit - stunning!
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