I’m working on the new Ben Nevis guidebook at the moment, and I’m intrigued to know if anyone has repeated the following ice routes. They were all climbed 20 years ago or more.
First Platform: Ruddy Rocks (IV,4), Rain Trip (IV,4)
Observatory Ridge: East Face (IV,5), Silverside (IV,4)
Indicator Wall: Fascist Groove (VII,5)
Gardyloo Buttress: Shot in the Light (V,5)
Secondary Tower Ridge: Running Hot (V,5)
Pinnacle Buttress of the Tower: Pinnacle Buttress Right-Hand (V,4)
Raeburn’s Wall: Upper Cascade Central (VI,6), Upper Cascade Right (VI,6)
Number Three Gully Buttress: Bigot’s Route (VI,6), Artemis (V,5), Vulture (V,5)
Creag Coire na Ciste: Place Your Bets (VII,6)
South Trident Buttress: Rien Ne Va Plus (V,5)
Castle Corrie: Winter Chimneys (V,5), Plum Line (V,6)
Can't claim to have done any of the routes I'm afraid but looking forward to a new guidebook on Ben Nevis. Any idea when we might see it?
The target is 2023, Andrew. But it partly depends when we get the final crag photos. Fingers crossed for some clear winter days this season!
I did Winter Chimneys in Castle Corrie back in February 2010. We went over there to do Compression Crack but someone was on the top part of it so we did the chimneys instead. It was very icy and we were able to get on the capstone without any mixed/aid malarky. I've since done Compression Crack and think it's a much better route than the Chimneys.
Many thanks Jeff - good to hear from you. Do you think V,5 is a fair grade for Winter Chimeys?
Yes, in fat condition it was similar grade to compression crack.
Many thanks Jeff. Do you have date for your ascent and can you let me know the name of your partner, please? And how many stars would you give it?
I wrote February 2010 in my guide book but not the precise date. I was with Dave Amos that day, you probably remember him from the BMC meets. It was a good route and worthy of a star as I recall. Good luck with the guide Simon.
Thanks Jeff. Very helpful. Yes, I do remember Dave - a sad loss.
Hi Simon. Does Artemis qualify as ‘unrepeated’? I was one of the first ascensionists and recall Andy Nisbet and Dave McGimpsey claiming the route (naming it Flirtation). Not knowing my mate and I had climbed it 2 weeks previously.
Does the 2nd ascent not really belong to Andy and Dave?
Hi Simon soloed Observatory ridge East face route in early march 1988, can't really comment on grade, but did write in my journal that it was very nice.
Thanks Graeme. I had forgotten that Andy and Dave climbed Artemis two weeks after you (although it's in my notes) so for sure, it's been repeated. Looks a cool route. Twenty years on are you happy with the V,5 grade (assumes a good covering of ice)?
Thanks Fergal that is very helpful. Looks like a logical (albeit bold) route to solo!
TBH, Ed and I had never climbed that hard before. We’d both only ever led IV,4. I remember Andy and Dave’s route being more direct and better executed, IIRC they graded their variation VI,6. We went with V,5 as we felt that was in keeping with our line, which was more of an accidental wander about the face. It was def harder than anything we’d ever climbed, but definitely didn’t feel like VI would have felt to us.
Apologies, probably an overly detailed reply. In short, yes I would still say it was V,5 on the day.
I guess the SMC is not really interested in historic solo ascents, one of my best was Smiths gully in march 1987, found it awkward but didn't think i was going to die! UKC has no other recorded, have there been others?.
> I guess the SMC is not really interested in historic solo ascents, one of my best was Smiths gully in march 1987, found it awkward but didn't think i was going to die! UKC has no other recorded, have there been others?.
I may be wrong but I have it my head that Graeme Livingston has. I'm certain he soloed Fly Direct. I'd have thought there would have been quite a few solo ascents of Smith's though.
Im in touch with the first acenaionist of Bigots Route if you want me to point him at this thread?
You are correct that the SMC does not tend to record solo ascents in its guidebooks or Journal. However we are always interested in historical route information, so if anyone has anything that might be of interest then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks but I already have Nigel's first ascent dscription. The purpose if this thread is to see if anyone has repeated these routes (which were climbed quite a long time ago now) to check on the grade and quality. I've had some very useful feedback on four or five climbs so far so thank you to everyone who has responded.
I have heard of at least one other having soloed Smith's Route (shortly after leading it) early in their climbing career: not my story to tell though.
Think they were talking about Smiths Gully on Meagie and not Smiths Route on the Ben which has had a number of solos being quite easy in good conditions relatively.
Yeah Smiths gully, have soloed smiths and as you say easier and has been done a lot. Loved the essay about a climber soloing North post in cold climbs it is such a pure form of adventure, for some reason i really wanted to solo it even though i had partners at the time, the beauty of an ice goulotte.
This Winter Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...