"Once in a while in sport, the bar is significantly raised. These events are rare, but this is such a moment."
Says Simon Richardson, author of the SMC Ben Nevis guidebook about this ascent, at the UKClimbing.com forums.
The often eyed but rarely tried (except by one or two very strong teams) crack on the right wall of Number 3 Gully, Ben Nevis had its first ascent on Monday. The strong team of Andy Turner, Steve Ashworth, Viv Scott timed their raid from the South to perfection and experienced superb frosty conditions and great weather for the ascent.
Ashworth described the "approach" pitch as harder than Sioux Wall (VIII,8) and the main pitch, led by Andy, as much, much harder than Knuckleduster (VIII,9). The main pitch involved a mind-boggling array of axe techniques from double can openers to wacky arm hooks around tools to effect some kind of rest. This brutally sustained 35m crack pitch ranged from fist to finger width and was fully iced inside meaning the payload of large cams carried was for ballast only!
The route was led entirely on-sight and in perfect style.
Andy Turner Leading "The Secret"
More details and stunning photos at www.highlandguides.com