/ Scottish Rock – clean routes & abseil anchors

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Gary Latter - on 13 Oct 2016
Over the Summer months I’ve been checking out routes for 2nd edition of Volume 2 of my Scottish Rock guide. Just thought some folk might be interested in making use of the current spell of fine weather and get some final rock routes in, before it gets too cold.

Would welcome any further feedback: gary@scottishrock.co.uk

Lower Cave Crag
The Cludge, VS 4c - cleaned & abseil sling & maillon round tree at top
The Hood, VS 4b,4c - cleaned & abseil sling & maillon round tree at top

Upper Cave Crag
Ratcatcher – cleaned & replaced couple pegs where The Pied Piper crosses the route
Replaced abseil slings at top of Mousetrap, Gnome & Tombstone

Polney Crag
Ivy Crack, VS 4c abseil sling & maillon round tree at top of first pitch
Consolation Corner, V.Diff. - abseil sling & maillon round tree at top of first pitch
Left-Hand Crack, E2 5c – replaced sling round small beech at top
Also replaced abseil slings & maillons round pines at top of The Groove; The Creep & Hairy Gully

Glen Nevis:

Sheep Fank Wall
Many of the routes very dirty here.
The Fuzz, VS 4c – filthy, not worth a star
Gambit, S – cleaned, though felt nearer to V. Diff & 1 * only?
Enter and Remember, E2 5b – unclimbable at present, definitely not worth 2 *

Double Buttress
Wall Games, E5 6a – marked incorrectly in new Highland Outcrops South guide – should be further left.

Hangover Buttress
Abseil slings & maillons placed on block at top of Hangover Buttress Edge & on on trees at top of Friends, E3 6a & McAlck, E2 5c
As Time Goes By is E4 6a * - well protected

Cavalry Crack Buttress
Vampire, HS 4b – cleaned first pitch. Doesn’t start as described in guides – Start much further right, at the same point as Fang, & move left to start.
Vampire – Alternative Finish – this starts right of the oak belay, down and left of the leftmost pine

Road Buttress
Sidewalk, S – naturally clean line, worth a *
No Entry, VS 5a – cleaned
The Web, E2 5c – cleaned
The Web/Wee One variation – good combination, worth 2*
Wee One, E3 6a – cleaned - peg now absent, but still OK at E3
Withering Crack, E3 5c – cleaned

Styx Buttress
Sling & maillon round small pine at top Resurrection & large pine at right end of crag
Tobe Hooper – more like E3 5c 1 * (not 3*)
All routes on slabby front face on wonderful clean quick drying rock
Breakheart Pass – felt more like E2 5c & 1 * (not E1 5b **)
Curse, VS 5a – worth a *
Damnation, VS 4c – dead tree near top removed
Fidelity, HVS 5a – worth 2*, Starting further left directly beneath the holly
reduces grade to more amenable VS 4c
That Hollow Feeling, E1 5b is 9m long and worth 1* (not 20m 2*). sling & maillon left on small pine tree at top

Secretaries’ Buttress
Ring of Fire Right-Hand – cleaned, & small tree at base removed. Impeccable rock
Last Word is E1 5a * (not HVS 4c)
Just Passing felt more like E1 5b * (not 5a)
Vincent, E3 5b,5c,5c – superb, surely worthy 4* - best E3 in Glen Nevis?
Secretaries’ Direct, S is fine climbing, though not 4*

Nameless Crag
Diode, E2 5c has had lots of traffic recently, many thinking 3*

Black’s Buttress
Replaced sling & maillon on block at top Land Ahoy – 25m abseil
Sling & maillon placed on flake at top of Crybaby – 23m abseil
Centrepiece, E6 6b – replaced missing peg with 2 pegs in same thin horizontal break.
Desmo – cleaned – felt like E2 5b *
Crybaby, VS 4c – cleaned
Soho, E2 5c * - route is well protected. Ignore last sentence in description
Poeme a Loup, E2 5b – cleaned, worthy 2*

Car Park Crag
Quality Street, E3 6a – cleaned back in 2013. Can abseil (60m) from small tree at top

Gorge Crag
Plague of Blazes, E2 5b - abseil sling & maillon replaced round tree at top
Travelin’ Man, E2 5c - cleaned & abseil sling & maillon replaced round tree at top
Mini Cooper, HVS 5a – very dirty & feels like E1 in current state

What Wee Wall
Routes are clean on lovely rock.
What Wee Ramp, HVS 5a – worth a *, lovely rock, and even some protection

Spreadeagle Buttress
Chairoscuro, E7 6b – cleaned recently, had further ascent this year
Fool’s Gold, HVS 5a – dirty, not worth a * in current state

Blade Buttress
abseil sling & maillon on flake at top left of crag (30m abseil)
Cruisability, E5 6b – cleaned 2013, climbed this year & still clean. Worth 4* perhaps?

Creag Dhubh

Little Rock
Cross Leaved Heath, E5 6a; Heather Wall, E4 6a; This One, E4 6b & Un Petit Mort, E1 5b all cleaned recently. This One marked in wrong place on topo – further left. New line Ling, E4 6a ** added between This One & Un Petit Mort – very well protected
Sling & maillon placed on thread 10m back from top – 25m abseil

Great Wall
New sling & maillon placed on abseil thread at top of Strapadicktaemi. Better finish added, moving out left & climbing direct to thread at E1 5b

Glen Coe
Buachaille Etive Mor

Crowberry Ridge, North-East Face
Replaced sling & maillon at top of Fracture Route - 25m abseil. Large (2m high!) block near top of The Orphan, VS 4c trundled

East Face of North Buttress
Replaced sling & maillon on block at top Shackle Route – 40m abseil

Upper Tier
Hangman’s Crack, VS 5a - sling & maillon in place 15m up & left from top
Garotte, VS 5a – placed sling & maillon at top – 30m abseil. Lovely well-protected jamming, even better than Hangman’s!

Aonach Dubh, East Face
Lower Walls
Sir Chancealot, E1 5b - replaced sling & maillon on thread in cave atop first pitch

Weeping Walls
The Long Crack, S – tree in poor state, no abseil point
Spider, HVS 5a & Spider Right Hand, VS 4c - placed sling & maillon on small juniper – 40m abseil
Glen Clova
The Doonie
Special Brew HVS 5a – trundled loose block
The Furstenberg Finish, E1 5b placed sling & maillon on large rowan 4m from top

Upper Doonie
Vindaloo, E1 5b placed sling & maillon on large thread at top – 30m abseil

Lower North-West Crag
Recent line For a Handful of Beans, HVS 5a ** (left of Proud Corner) cleaned a large loose blocks trundled. Now good independent climbing.

Central Crag
Empire of the Sun, E4 6a – additional sling & maillon left on large block at top.
Also carabiners & slings & maillons left on 2 in situ nuts on abseil station 20m up & left from here

Lower South-East Crag
Slings & screwgates/maillons on large blocks at top of Central Crack, S 4a & Parapet Route, S 4a
Recent line Pilgrims, E1 5b ** cleaned – large loose flake removed from wide crack
1
CurlyStevo - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Good work!
jonnie3430 - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

How long is the safe life expectancy of these slings?
3
Dangerous Dave - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to jonnie3430:

You need to use your own judgement for these things. Depends on far too many factors to possibly give a time.

Good work Gary, cheers.
spenser - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:
Probably worth putting a warning in about The Long Climb (VS) if you're going to keep it in the guide, the last 3 pitches were all crumbly rubbish when I did it last weekend and I think it's likely that the fatality which occurred the day before was due to loose rock chopping the leader's rope looking at the position of the remains of the rope.
This said, I don't think the route's worth doing anymore other than for the classic rock tick.
Edit: great work on cleaning the routes and renewing abseil anchors!
Post edited at 15:49
1
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:
Nice one Gary.

Binnein Shuas:
Delayed Attack - Still clean. Stonking
Ardanfreaky - 3 star. Some slight vegetation but doesn't detract from the climbing.
The Fortress - Clean

Dirc Mhor:
Working Class Hero - Some looseness and dirt on the lower ramp, but where the climbing begins it's clean - E2 5c

Pass of Ballater:
Lech Gates - More of a note than anything else, there is a very large loose block at the top that is used as an undercut. I pulled on it and the entire thing moved quite substantially, and as you know I'm not exactly heavy! Andy Nisbet checked with some locals who say it's always been a bit loose. We had a block fall off Cold Rage the week before so I didn't dare pull through on that move.
Post edited at 15:51
Lamb - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Great work, cheers.

The new finish you speak of for Strapadicktaemi, does it just continue straight up and above belay ledge at the top of P1? We climbed route as guidebook described a few weeks back, for P2 traversing out right before diagonally heading back left to lower off. Second pitch was unfortunately very lichenous and dirty from lack of traffic, first pitch superb though. We decided finishing up Inbred P2 would be better in hindsight. But if there's a cleaner direct finish that would be ideal.
Offwidth - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to spenser:

Is that seriously a common view for recent ascents or just your opinion?
4
TobyA on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Comments in the log books are not universally, but a good majority, saying its rubbish I would say. I've heard bad things about it too.

See the comment from the MRT at the bottom of this sad article - http://www.obantimes.co.uk/2016/10/12/15760/ I wonder why "this year" in particular it could be so loose?
Offwidth - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to TobyA:

Its a face with a lots of freeze thaw action and under snow and ice for several months a year. The route being in classic rock gets plenty of traffic and ticks from those less used to loose conditions that doesn't mean its shit and best avoided by these with the experience to deal with such things. Now if we were talking about Terrier's Tooth that is shit due to a major rockfall and curremtly best avoided
4
Colin Moody - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

> Sheep Fank Wall
> Many of the routes very dirty here.
> The Fuzz, VS 4c – filthy, not worth a star
> Gambit, S – cleaned, though felt nearer to V. Diff & 1 * only?
> Enter and Remember, E2 5b – unclimbable at present, definitely not worth 2 *

I was surprised to see so many stars here but I was told a lot of cleaning was done two years ago.
Enter and Remember was always just an eliminate.

The birch trees seem to be taking over.
spenser - on 13 Oct 2016
In reply to Offwidth:

Hi Steve,
Seems to be the opinion of several other people in the logbooks in addition to mine. I've climbed my fair share of loose rock in old quarries and sea cliffs, plus a little in the mountains (for a relatively sane individual not aspiring to replace Mick Fowler), the only other route which I have climbed that comes close in looseness would be the top 1 or 2 pitches of Slab Climb Right-hand (HS 4b) up on Cloggy which was 40 degree stacked blocks forming a scree slope from what I remember, however that was relatively low angled and it locked itself together as scree usually tends to do.
The best bit of the day was that we stood under the north face and marvelled at how blinking brilliant the place was, any of the other routes on the face would do this, many with seemingly less loose rock and better moves (assuming that the Ben's reputation is well deserved).
If you actually look at the route in the log book you'll see that mine was the only logged ascent this season, not exactly plenty of traffic.
If you want to discuss this further feel free to e-mail me as the point of this thread is to inform people on the state of routes, this discussion has suitably raised awareness of the state of The Long Climb and I would rather like to avoid thinking about what I saw on the route last weekend.

I can only assume that the chap who died on the route last friday was an experienced climber who would have dealt extensively with loose rock in his time:
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/10/12/police-name-fraser-campbell-as-climber-who-died-in-ben-n...
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2016/10/10/team-in-most-difficult-rescue-after-ben-nevis-climber-di...
Finlandia - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Great work on anchors & trundling etc! Is Arran included here? We went to climb Brobdingnag on Beinn Tarsuinn in June. Very vegetated, after a few tries we failed to get on to the start of the route. We moved to The Blinder-2 pitches of poor rock covered in vegetation. Pitch 3 much worse, descended enough stone to build a bothy and enough turf for a big garden. Looked at pitch 4 then downclimbed and abseiled off in disgust The granite is very poor quality decomposing when you rub it - I couldn't give either of these any stars...
Captain Solo on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:
Aonach Dubh, East face, Far East wall.
Loose block at start of 1st pitch of Nirvana Wall (HS 4b) now trundled.
Edit: below sling runner in this pic http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=177569
(Spike still in place)
Post edited at 09:23
Jon Read - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Great effort -- nice one Gary.
Offwidth - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to spenser:

Some very fair points there and to be clear I have no objection about the warning.

I still don't think we should be speculating on cause where someone has died nor dismiss a route totally (what would happen to many Alpine routes? )

I've had quite a few incidents with loose blocks in my climbing times that could (with bad luck and/or bad decision making) have killed me or my partner(s) but the really lucky escapes were with unexpectedly loose rock. Where rock was obviously shit we tried to find the best way (irrespective of topos) keeping the belayer and ropes away from any fall line (or just abseil off).
pebblespanker - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Splendid unselfish effort and very much appreciated Gary
Gary Latter - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Martin McKenna, Lamb, Colin Moody & Finlandia:
Thanks for all the feedback guys.

Martin - On Dirc Mhor, we did Working Class Hero few weeks back - aye, first pitch is scruffy, but don't think a Severe 4a pitch detracts from that cracking main pitch. I trundled a loose block off that pitch, so all good now. Also climbed a rather soggy Scorched Earth on the strangely named Sea of Slabs further up the Dirc. Cleaned the top out, and we also left a nut & maillon in order to abseil (50m reached base) from the wee outcrop above. Worth taking a spare medium size nut & maillon, if don't get on the route before the Winter.

Lamb - The normal finish to Strapadicktaemi ends on steep grass & vegetation about 6m right of the thread. Prior to your ascent I moved left along thin break from near top of diagonal crack & climbed straight up wall to the thread belay/abseil point. Initially climbed on-sight, but cleaned couple times subsequently. I disagree, think climbing the route this way really worthwhile, and better than the HS 4b second pitch to Inbred.
A great way up the crag is to follow Inbred Direct, then move through the roof above the ledge to follow diagonal crack leftwards, then direct to the above thread belay - superb 40m E1 5b *** pitch. I've slotted in a new line midway between The Hill & Inbred that shares the top section - Under the Skin, E3 5c **.

Colin Moody - Aye, there's a lot of dirty & overgrown routes in Glen Nevis, though the popular routes are superb. Unfortunately the star ratings littering the new Highland Outcrops Guide are massively inconsistent, with lots of new '2 & 3*' routes perhaps worth a * at a push.

Finlandia - Hmm, I quite enjoyed Blinder, though perhaps retrospectively... My mate refused to lead the upper '4c' pitches. Character building stuff, I guess! Bumped into Garth at Ratho in the summer, who related a tale of his climbing partner pulling up on big grass ledge on one of the routes on that cliff, only for ledge & leader to peel off!

Gary Latter - on 14 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Just remembered another cleaned route:

Glen Lednock

South Buttress
Central Groove, E4 6a * - cleaned some big loose blocks from ledge at base of corner. Highland Outcrops South states "The old pegs are now rusted stumps.", but looks like these have been replaced fairly recently. Definitely harder than the original E2 5c - perhaps some holds fallen off?
Placed abseil sling & maillon round large tree at top, (also common to Carcase Wall, HS 4b **).
Also worth noting that when tried to visit this crag earlier in July was Peregrine nesting in vicinity. This is mentioned in the new guide within the general introduction to Balnacoul Castle, but 6 pages before the actual crag in question, hence I missed it.

Creag na h-Iolaire
Also left couple slings & carabiners for convenient abseils from the trees at the top of Sultans of Swing area
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mike barnard - on 19 Oct 2016
In reply to Gary Latter:

Hi Gary, I take it Pilgrims is still climbable with the flake removed? I remember it being a key hold and surprised if still doable at 5b.

BTW we enjoyed your recent routes on the Main Cliff at Diabaig - some good climbing! I was thankful for that wee jammed block on 'Perfect Days'. So cheers for the descriptions.

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