Wednesday 19 December 2012

New route on the Ben

I realise that it has been a while since I wrote anything on my blog. Since my last post I had three weeks sports climbing in Spain which was pleasant, but perhaps did not make particularly inspiring subject to write about. Since Spain I have been busy finishing off my summer job (modelling oil and gas flow), and starting with my winter job (avalanche forecasting). I have however, managed a few routes, but have either not had the time or not been inspired to write about them.

Myself on the first pitch our our new route. 

The most interesting thing that I did during that period is a winter (first ?) ascent of Blue Nosed Baboon, a V-Diff on Gardh buttress. This went at about grade V,5. While belaying I had looked over to Trident buttress, and seen an obvious ramp on the lower tier. I had assumed that was the line of The Minge, a summer VS, which was the only route in that area in the guide book.

Helen on the second pitch. From where she is the route stepped leftwards and pulled onto a series of hanging slabs. 

Yesterday (Tuesday 18th)  myself and Helen Rennard wandered up the Ben. The night before when having a flick through the guide I realised that The Minge took a steep crack, and so it seems likely that the line I had spotted had not been climbed. Helen and I had originally planned to do a route high up in the Ciste. However when passing below Trident Buttress the route that I had thought about looked to be in good nick. I suggested that we went and had a wee peek.

Myself on the steep crack that formed the crux of the route. There was some good ice which helped a bit here.

I led the first pitch, a bold but relatively straightforward icy ramp line. Helen then led the second pitch, which climbed a short groove and traversed diagonally big rightwards over some slabs . She belayed below an obvious icy crack. This proved to the crux of the route, steep with poor feet, but some positive hooks and  good ice. Above the crack the climbing remained quite technical for another 10 or 15 metres before easier ground was reached. A couple of easier pitches then led to the top of Trident Buttress. A long traverse then got us back down to Number 4 Gully.

As yet the route is un-named and went about grade VI,7 or maybe VII,7.

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