Following their first winter ascent of Shadhavar VIII, 9 (UKC News Report), Ian and Uisdean decided to go for Crusade after having spotted Steve House and another strong American climber cruising up a very verglassed Knuckleduster in late December. Uisdean told UKC:
"It got Ian talking about a good looking line up at Church Door Buttress, taking a line of flakes up the cliff which Steve and Sam Chinnery had climbed in 2005."
Uisdean had just climbed Central Grooves VII,7 in Stob Coire nan Lochan with Ben Bransby when Ian contacted him about tackling Crusade the following day. Uisdean described the line as follows:
"The first pitch takes a rising traverse up ramps to the bottom of the flake line. The next pitch takes the steep line of flakes and corners to traverse along a ledge and belay below a groove. I found the crux moves quite tricky on this pitch and had be a little inventive to get some good gear in, as the crack was quite icy and I didn’t trust the cams. The rest of the pitch was very physical with little for your feet but there seemed just the right amount of chock stones which made it feel more secure.
"After me taking a long time to find a belay, Ian and Ben seconded the pitch. Ben being a very strong rock climber seemed to be particularly good at using his hands to climb, instead of his axes but it worked for him. Ian managed to stretch out the 3rd pitch to the top, which was good as it was very nearly dark."
Summing up the climb, he commented:
"A very good line with great climbing that deserves to see more ascents, although it is quite high in the grade as you might expect."
Regarding Scottish winter climbing conditions at the moment, Uisdean told UKC:
"It feels like conditions are still not great just now, and a few of the bigger thin icy routes I was keen to try this year might not come into condition. However, as it's Scotland you never know!"
Uisdean will be heading to the wild North West of Scotland next week with Tom Livingstone, where they are hoping for some more Scottish winter adventures, before getting involved in the BMC International Winter Meet the following week, which - he commented - "will be great to get to show people how good Scotland can be."
Keep an eye on our UKC Winter Conditions Page.