Dan McManus and Ross McKerchar have established a new E8 6c on the iconic Am Basteir on the Isle of Skye.
Having seen a photo of the Tooth in 2008, where a hanging groove and crack above the roof of the prow caught his attention, the line had long been on Dan's mind. A tentative effort in that year proved unsuccessful, with Dan missing some crucial gear placements and not having the chance to carry out an abseil inspection. Despite tempting many with tip-offs over the past eight years, no-one took him up on the offer and a further two trips to Skye offered either no opportunity or saw the climb covered in hoar frost.
Returning last week, a trip to Arran was followed by a visit to the Tooth with Ross McKerchar and a fortuitous forecast of stunning weather gave prime conditions. Writing in his blog, Dan explained:
'We got up to the ridge straight away for some thorough abseiling and cleaning of the line. I was chuffed when I realised the route was going to be doable and really high quality. Above the roof on the right it’s fairly blank, but we found a line of holds leading along the lip and dug out some breaks for small cams at the start of the hard climbing.'
After a failed first attempt which resulted in split fingertips, a four-day break was required before Dan's successful next go. Ross managed the crux pitch on his second attempt and also lead the second pitch, which Dan describes as 'easier than the first, with absorbing climbing and quite serious.'
Describing the difficulty, Dan wrote:
'For us both to succeed on the route was a great end to the trip. We suggest a grade of E8 after trying to imagine what it would be like to on-sight. Getting the cams in well and reading the sequence along the big roof would make the route much harder than it was for us. The meat of the route is a great section of climbing along the lip of the roof on slopers, crimps and heel hooks and felt in the region of V6 to us.'
Regarding the name, he explained:
'Given that the other route names have an eco/climate change theme, we’ve called the route An Inconvenient Tooth.'
Check out Dan's blog about the ascent here.