/ Out of the Womb, Pabbay - what's it like?
Browsing the guidebook ahead of a planned trip to Pabbay I noticed this route - Out of the Womb (HVS 5a) - an HVS in the Great Arch Area. Looking at the situation/location and the fact that it is flanked by three-star quality routes I was curious to see it gets no stars, and also that there are no recorded ascents in the UKC logbook. Is there something 'up' with it? Anyone done it, know anything about it, seen it up close etc.?
Might just be that it's not in select guides? whereas The Priest and Prophecy are. Had a few mates visit a few years ago and they climbed both of these and said they were superb and well worth doing.
I think I recall the rock maybe didn't look as good there. Also, despite some diagrams I'm not sure it climbs the corner but the slabby wall you abseil, which is far less impressive than the hanging grooves in the side of the arch taken by the likes of Priest and Prophecy. Besides, those two are overgraded anyway so you might as well consider them! I don't think there's a pitch on Prophecy which would be harder than HVS if it was a single pitch in it's own right.
I've only looked across at it, so don't take this as gospel, but it looked like a pretty manky, green corner- at least in parts.
(Looked across from quite far away too)
I had a go at Out of the Womb about 15 years ago, when there was not much info, and although a corner was described -and no-one can deny the existence of a bloody massive corner - we somehow ended up completely lost in the middle of the right wall. We then elected to forge our own way directly up the wall, ending up probably closer to the right hand end of the wall than the corner, which seemed to be a more attractive line (HVS ish). There were no strong lines, and likely several different options at a similar grade. The route we did was worthwhile, but not in the same league as its more illustrious neighbours.
In other words I can't really tell you anything about the route itself, except that route-finding might be trickier than expected, but that you'll likely have no problem finding a way up in any case. We never bothered to report our route - so you might even be able to claim an FA!
> I don't think there's a pitch on Prophecy which would be harder than HVS if it was a single pitch in it's own right.
To balance that view, I fell off Prophecy ten years ago. I was leading E2 quite regularly at the time, and led E3 on Dun Mingulay on the same trip.
Admittedly I didn't have a very reliable head back then, but it's clearly not that easy. Recommending it to an HVS leader, given where it is, is sensational sandbagging.
Thanks Mike. The SMC Outer Hebrides guide does show the route weaving around on the face, apart from the last pitch which is shown as in the corner. Thanks for encouragement re The Priest and Prophecy, though I'm not sure your appraisal is quite in line with consensus
Thank you. As I said to Mike, the line in the SMC guide is mostly on the right wall, so it sounds like what you did would be what I'd expect. I suppose we can just have a look and see if we fancy it.
Alex Puccio has climbed Heritage, a Carlo Traversi Font 8B+ in Val Bavona, Switzerland. This was Puccio's fifth climb graded 8B+ after previously climbing Jade, The Wheel of Chaos, New Baseline and The Penrose Step.