On the 8th of April Nick Bullock and Guy Robertson pulled off one of the most impressive first ascents of the Scottish winter season. Nevermore, X,10, takes a central line up Lochnagar's Tough-Brown Face. Parts of the crux 5th pitch were climbed onsight.
'I'd previously spent something like 15+ hours belaying Pete Benson and others on the very difficult second pitch' says Guy Robertson in his Cairngorm Tiger blog.
'But nonetheless I'd still only once had the chance (a few weeks previously) to explore this pitch – my pitch, as it were. On that occasion it had been late, I had been borderline hyperthermic [sic], and I had been unable to commit. I had climbed down and offered Nick Bullock the reigns, but after a half-heatered probe he had also backed away.'
'This time though, things were different – I was fresh and with daylight to spare. But the steep, rounded rock and lack of obvious protection had grade X written all over it. If it didn't happen then, it possibly never would.'
'The white noise was becoming deafening. I felt sure the climbing was within my physical capabilities, but the risk? I wasn't sure. This was new ground in every sense.'
Having fallen from the crux pitch, Roberston then handed the live end to Bullock:
'The next hour passed in slow motion, watching Nick slowly absorb [...] the cliff. No noises, no wobbles, indeed no external signs of the cranking hypertension searing through his every muscle. Grade 10 to clear the roof, then sustained 9 for fully 15m. One little clutch of protection at halfway. Nothing else...'
For a full account of previous attempts on Nevermore and the eventual successful first ascent, see this exclusive UKC article by Nick Bullock.