Skye Wall and Skye Fall: Scottish Onsight Spree by James McHaffie

by Natalie Berry - UKC Oct/2016
This news story has been read 10,501 times

James McHaffie was busy on the Isle of Skye last weekend, onsighting Dave Birkett's bold Skye Wall​ E8 6b on Coir' Uisg Buttress​ and adding a new line just to the right, named Skye Fall and weighing in at E6 6b. Dan Varian also added three new boulder problems to the area up to 7B+/C. 

Dan following the main pitch of Skye Wall, 158 kbDan following the main pitch of Skye Wall
© James McHaffie

First repeated by Charlie Woodburn in 2014, Skye Wall has attracted very few climbers since Dave Birkett's first ascent in 2007 due to its remote location. Scottish climbers Iain Small and Julian Lines made the suspected third and fourth ascents in May 2015.

Dan told UKC:

'Caff did an amazing onsight of the main pitch on Skye Wall, as the lower run-out crux before the mid wires was really hard to read without chalk and knowing which holds to trust, so he just minged some crap edges and then jettisoned a set of RPs upon reaching the next placements, luckily he had a spare set on the massive weight belt he calls a rack so it was all good.'

The new route Skye Fall is a two pitch E6 (6b, 5c) and involves a bold technical traverse leftwards to gain the grooves right of Skye Wall, then goes up and belays in the huge corner. The second pitch leads up the corner. 

Dan described the route as follows:

'Skye Fall is a really weird route, it's like doing Committed at Curbar, but then there's another 70m of E1 to E3 climbing above. A start from the 80’s into a finish from the 60’s, but it took until now to get done because of where it is. It’s a shame that’s probably the last doable line on that face, not much other potential really, but it makes what's there all the more special.

Arete boulder 7B+, 208 kbArete boulder 7B+
© James McHaffie

James told UKC:

'We onsighted both Skye Wall and Skye Fall on the first day and then mainly bouldered and explored on the way out on day two. Dan did some ace new problems. One boulder is above the camping venue at the end of Loch Coruisk and the other is next to the path halfway along the lake. Both about 7B+/C. Dan then did another one near the Lake.'

Dan commented:

'I just pottered on some stunning lines up to 7B+/7Cish with Caff on a morning's saunter about, there’s fantastic scope in that valley and not all blocks have a really rough texture. I’ve had a bit of a lurgy so was mostly following the Caff rocket with my snail trails of slime.'

James and Dan's camp at Loch Coruisk, 215 kbJames and Dan's camp at Loch Coruisk
© James McHaffie

James is sponsored by: DMM, BorealRabSterling Rope and is a BMC Ambassador.

Dan is sponsored by: Organic, Friction Labs, Scarpa and works at Beastmaker.

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