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The Ticklist #35 Big Walls, Big Mountains and Steep Scottish Trad

© Dave MacLeod

Some big ascents on big walls and big mountains, plus some steep Scottish trad...

Keystone E8 6c FA by Dave MacLeod

Dave MacLeod has made the first ascent of Keystone E8 6c on Meall Cumhann in Glen Nevis. The striking roof line is a more direct version of a former aid route climbed by Ian Sutherland and Ian Sykes in 1971 and boasts a picturesque backdrop of Glen Nevis.

Chantel Astorga skis Denali's West Rib, then solos Cassin Ridge

Last week, US alpinist Chantel Astorga soloed North America's highest mountain, Denali (6194m) in Alaska, via the classic Cassin Ridge. First, she descended on skis along the West Rib/Seattle Ramp in prime conditions (but still, it's a ramp of ice) before summitting and descending via the West Buttress. She summitted in a rapid time of 14 hours 39 minutes, becoming the first woman to solo the Cassin. In 2018, Astorga made the first all-female repeat of the coveted Slovak Direct on Denali with Anne Gilbert Chase, for which they received a special mention from the Piolet d'Or Jury. 

Ground-up ascent of Fly (8b+/c, 550m) by Séb Berthe and Siebe Vanhee

Belgian climbers Séb Berthe and Siebe Vanhee have made an impressive ground-up ascent of Roger Schaeli's Fly (first freed by Alex Megos and Cedric Lachat in 2014 and 2019) in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland over three days. The route has three 8th-grade pitches (8b, 8b/+, 8b+/c) situated among the last four pitches of the 20-pitch line.


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28 Jun

When Dave MacLeod says the trees are limited to the steep crags, I wondered what problem he is highlighting? Is it a general lack of tree growth elsewhere? Just wondered.

28 Jun

Yep, i believe he's highlighting the fact that the entire upland landscape which would naturally be forested is maintaned as a 'wild' deforested landscape.

28 Jun

I think he's referring to grazing pressures, most probably from deer populations that are managed for sporting interests. In places where grazing pressure is high, it's often the case the steepest ground has the trees (harder to access for deer, so trees can grow), thus gives an indication of what the vegatation would look like with less grazing pressure in the landscape.

The grazing problems in Glen Nevis are that there are no grazing animals; sheep have been taken off the land, deer are pretty scarce so the Glen has been and is still becoming a jungle. Grazing animals are needed to help wild flowers break through where otherwise bracken and shrubby trees run amok. Sadly, economics drive this as farmers make no money from livestock thanks to cheap imports, reducing quotas etc. Some landowners such as NTS like “rewilding” which is bringing landscapes back to a state similar to prehistoric times. Glen Nevis is not owned by NTS thankfully, so dialogue and compromise between user groups and owners is more likely. Dave is a great ambassador and activist for the good of our climbing community!

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