Many UK climbers have hung up their crampons and dusted off their rock boots, but not the intrepid trio of Nick Bullock, Pete Benson and Guy Robertson.
The team climbed a new direct line to The Godfather on Beinn Bhan on Monday the 14th of March. Their new route, now named Godzilla, tackles a direct line up the wall and joins the hard test-piece of The Godfather for its last two pitches. They have suggested a grade of IX,8.
"We got up at 03.30 and set off walking at approx 04.30...we were back at the car at 9pm..A full day!" commented Nick Bullock.
Commenting on ScottishWinter.com, Guy Robertson said:
"We topped out at around 6.30pm, probably about 11 hours on the route. As usual on this face much of the time and effort was taken up route-finding on the crux. I think a grade of IX,8 is appropriate – not desperately hard, but not a route for top-roping or dogging! Falling off on either pitch 2 or 3 wouldn't be pretty. It's undoubtedly one of the best lines either of the three of us have done anywhere – roll on winter 2011!"
Nick gave UKC a route description and brief account of the climb:
The route starts directly beneath the massive large corner at the top of the crag which is the final pitch of The Godfather.
Pitch 1. Led by Benny, tech 8. Steep and burly crack/fault line into an overhanging offwidth which leads onto a nice ledge to belay... about 40m maybe a tad more.
Pitch 2. I climbed up to a large pinacle/flake direct above the belay and looked up into a really steep blank looking black corner and thought bugger that it looks desperate, so downclimbed and traversed hard right from the belay where I thought a better crack system might to cross the very steep ground above. Climbed up, placed some gear then decided to bring the others across as this also looked desperate and I didnt fancy a right angle in the ropes! 25m tech 8 and scary!
Anyway, the others came across and I set off again finding the overhanging corner above was blank, soI then did a short traverse back left to find myself just above where I was before downclimbing on the first go... Robbo told me later that he knew the first way was the best but thought he would let me get on with it! derr!!
So now I was faced with the very steep black corner I minced away from at the start of the pitch... luckily a few very steep layback moves with torques in a flake crack on the right gave gear but the corner above looked desperate and I was starting to feel a tad nausious! I pulled up into the overhanging groove using very small hooks and found no gear. now I was definately feeling sick... I then spent about half an hour trying to place a peg, maybe more, which in the end was useless and only in about an inch. All of the time here I had to move around as I was hanging on my arms...not good!
Anyway using really small edges I layed away up the groove above the peg aiming for what looked like a crack. Fortunately it was and starting to feel a tad less ill, I placed a wire... really wild overhanging moves above found me on a small ledge, where I then found we only had about 7 quickdraws. So I belayed. Guy and Pete decided that one of them had f*cked up with the rack... I couldn't believe it, I had a million wires and only about 7 quickies!!
Pitch 3. Guy came up and led through, Pete stayed on the ledge below. He traversed right into an offwidth, really insecure, and then with 2 shoddy wires unleashed up the overhanging corner above. Super steep climbing, tech 8, which could be protected by a big cam if we had one!! leading onto mellow turf ground and belay beneath a slabby (it felt slabby after the other stuff but was actually quite steep) corner. (If you look at one of my pics, you can see guy and the ropes swinging in the wind... Photos on Nick Bullock Blog) 40m.
Pitch 4. Pete led the corner which was tech 7 and after all of the unprotected burl below felt friendly, and then traversed left to belay as on The Godfather second to last pitch. 30m
Pitch 5. I led the second to last pitch of The Godfather (which was quite spicey I thought) to belay beneath the final huge corner. Tech 8. 50m
Pitch 6. Guy led us out on the final crux pitch of The Godfather... tech 8 and utterly brilliant. Guy topped out as the sun was setting, Pete and I topped out in the dark.
Nick Bullock is sponsored by Mountain Equipment, DMM and Samsung
Pete Benson is sponsored by adidas