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ARTICLE: The Glencoe Classic Rock Challenge

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 UKC Articles 16 Jun 2021

Keri Wallace writes about completing a self-supported link-up of Ken Wilson's 7 Classic Rock Routes in Glencoe – est. 53 guidebook pitches of climbing and 22km of running (approx. 3000m ascent) starting in Glen Etive and finishing at the Clachaig Inn.

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 lithos 16 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi ya that was Pete and I who were at the start of the Clachaig Gully, and having someone to follow would have been great but we never saw you after the first 3 pitches There was never any doubt of letting you through though - you were on a mission and motoring (but careful) even after all those hours.

hope our steps up to Crypt route were helpful though we backed off the chockstone having no axes and approach shoes. We did manage Chasm next day, where we met Sam and Amy!

Brilliant effort, congrats

Post edited at 16:36
 TheGeneralist 16 Jun 2021
In reply to Keri:

Fabulous stuff. Really good adventure and great write up.

 gooberman-hill 16 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

What a brilliant day out!

 Willmoors 16 Jun 2021
In reply to lithos:

Great read! Top effort! 

In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice work Ben and Keri.  Whats the story with the rope above Ben in the third last photo - is there a stuck rope in there just now? 

In reply to UKC Articles:

I remember feeling like The Chasm alone took the best part of a entire day to do, so can't imagine linking it with anything other than a nice meal at the Clachaig Inn followed by a long and well deserved slumber... 

Massively inspiring as always

 lithos 17 Jun 2021
In reply to arose:

think thats an earlier photo, i didn't see it on the day and Ben had a different coloured tiny rucsac

 Offwidth 17 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Just wow!

 thewallace 17 Jun 2021
In reply to lithos:

Thanks so much for letting us through, really appreciated! Well done on the Chasm, what a great route, deserves more traffic! How did you find Clachaig Gully?

 lithos 17 Jun 2021
In reply to thewallace:

absolutely no worries, thats approach was nasty.

Clachaig was a great day out, finding where abouts we were not that easy. found the Jericho Wall (i think black steep wll on right) quite awkward at the grad. The waterfall pitch (red wall-looked yellow to me !) i really enjoyed - following your advice of 'get in there' but scared myself higher up on another waterfall pitch where i should have taken the right wall

Chasm was fine as the day was so nice but route finding or rather working out where you was not trivial (and Garry L book say R when its left wall)  - sound familiar?   At the fork i was contemplating the waterfall on the right - Sam and Amy  correctly quested up the loose buttress between them (coring their rope in a rockfall!) But it all worked out.

I am surprised there isnt a more detailed topo online somewhere for both routes - the guidebooks make sense once you've done them but thats not really the point !

mega effort from the pair of you - so impressed

 jimorothy 17 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

'Descending' into the Clachaig Gully?!? Missing out the beginning million pitches of that route by the 'lower in' (as for the latest SMC guide) means missing out the unnamed actual crux of the route - (that horrendous waterfall pitch that Allan Austin fell off).  It looks dry too, so shouldn't have been too desperate (for a change). Why anyone would miss the opportunity to spend more time in that delightful gully is beyond me... ah, wait a minute... . Anyway, well done, you can now eat pies and put your feet up for the rest of the year!

 Doug 17 Jun 2021
In reply to jimorothy:

Must be 30 plus years since I climbed the Clachaig Gully but I know we just follwed the stream from near the hotel, don't think we had a guide & the route seemed obvious. But it was near the end of a long dry spell which maybe helped a lot.

But the thought of the Chasm plus the other routes in a day seems crazy, well beyond anything I could conceive of doing even when I was young

 thewallace 18 Jun 2021
In reply to jimorothy:

There has been rockfall lower down making the pitch below the cave pitch pretty un-inviting. The normal way in now is as described in the guidebook. I’m sure people will still climb the lower pitches but we were trying to strike a decent balance of safety and opted for the guidebook description. 

 thewallace 18 Jun 2021
In reply to lithos:

Great work!! Yeah the red wall pitch is actually really good eh! First time we did it I climbed a horrible loose overhanging wall on the left. Horrendous!! Once I just got in the waterfall it was fine!!

 thewallace 18 Jun 2021
In reply to arose:

Hey Ali, there was a bit of tat hanging down from the right wall.  That photo is from an earlier recce and we cleaned it then so all clear now 👍

 SuperstarDJ 18 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Amazing effort and great write-up.  Makes me 'homesick' for Glencoe.

"Somewhat fittingly, the fist ascent of the Chasm was by Mr & Mrs N. E. Odell, a husband-and-wife team climbing together with R. F Stobart in April 1920, after the Great War."

I assume this was Noel Odell (and wife Gwladys) of Everest and Nanda Devi fame?  Nice to be in the footsteps of a legend (although I expect most of the routes were put up by the outstanding climbers of their day).

Post edited at 12:01
 dangermouse79 19 Jun 2021
In reply to UKC Articles:

Fantastic adventure! Inspirational stuff

In reply to thewallace:

Cheers for replying to my nerdery Ben and well done again.


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