Jackson E5 6a
[Ken Jackson tackles the notorious "Moustache" on Swastika, Etive Slabs. 1966., 3 kb]4 pitches. The leaning arete right of the top pitches of Pinch Direct. Technically hard, virtually no gear, and ball bearings granite. First ascenctionists unknown to me, about 1983. But apparently they went into the Kingshouse afterwards, and were skint. Big Iain Nicholson gave them a tenner to change the name (from something silly) to Jackson. The story goes that the late John Jackson used to wake up in the Creag Dhu Hut having screaming nightmares about this line. Having taken a whipper off the first pitch (without going over the edge) I can understand why. The route was originally called "Snap Crackle and Pop" due to the sound of the crystals underneath your feet. The tentative grade of E5 6b 6b 6A 6A. It may be harder. First ascentionists were Chris Murray and Graham Harrison. A semi hanging belay was taken after pitch one consisting of a clutch of RPs and friend 1 on two cams. Modern gear may be better, we didn't have much money in those days! Pitch two goes straight up then trends right. Pitches three and four go through a series of over hanging cracks and overlaps. The above story is mostly right. Ian wept and offered us £20 to change the name explaining that John Jackson always knew that the route would go but understood just how serious an undertaking it would be. We took the money being thirsty and skint. The route was never reported as a first ascent to any guide book writer ( as is the Creagh Dhu way) I did give Rab Anderson a verbal description of the route. At the time the only people who thought that this was an important route was the Creagh Dhu, others thought it to be some what eliminate. How an arete can be eliminate is beyond me. It snowed on pitch 2. No idea what people think of the route or how many ascents it has had. It was the most terrifying climb I have ever done and I shudder every time I go back to the slabs. Graham Harrison
Chris Murray / Graham Harrison Mar/1989

Photo: Ken Jackson tackles the notorious "Moustache" on Swastika, Etive Slabs. 1966. © Tony Marr
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The most compelling line at Etive. Unfortunately the combination of a leaning arete, technical difficulty, lack of gear and ball bearings granite puts off all but the most committed. I went up there one day in about 1989 having climbed most of the harder routes on the slabs, and spent the best part of two years psyching myself up for it. Thankfully I didn't get that far up it before the ball bearings went under my feet. Even more thankfully I somehow managed not to go over the edge. The route to have done at Etive
gooberman-hill - Lead dnf - 1989 with Tim Dickinson

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