Thursday, 27 July 2006


Point Five Gully area, Ben Nevis 25/07/06 The north face cliffs are a perfect place to escape the heatwave
Coire na Ciste, Ben Nevis. Many a new route to be done here, summer and winter

I never tire of stepping out of the CIC hut in the morning and soaking up the view of the north face

A teetering block looming at the top of my project about to be trundled. This bad boy made a BIG noise after having 90 metres to accelerate towards the slabs below. It was a stark reminder of what would happen if I were to fall of the climb.

It was last summer that I started to visit Ben Nevis again with an eye for new routes. In between trying Anubis I wandered around and felt more and more overwhelmed by the possibilities for amazing new routes at all grades. It takes a massive amount of work to climb just one hard route on the 'big bad Ben'. The routes are long and cleaning of loose rock and lichen is hard going on very steep rock. To overcome this feeling, I decided to come back this summer and work only on the best looking line I saw; a huge and unbelievable line which would require many superlatives to do it justice. Everything about it is massive, the line, the exosure, the difficulty, the logistics and the danger. I just came back stiff and sore from 4 days intense work on it, It's clean and the moves are done. But I'm not sure if I will do it. All of the hard climbing (and it is hard!) is unprotected. So now I am back to feeling overwhelmed again. I will try it, but must be ready to walk away if I still feel it is too serious. Much preparation is needed now. The first task is to get my endurance back. Now I am working on hard mountain routes again I am remembering why it is hard to do the 'all rounder' thing. After two weeks of carrying big sacks and racks up mountains, jugging ropes and brushing holds, I have done very little actual climbing. Next time up the Ben I can get down to business though.

Anubis and The Italian Job are my only successes on this mountain, among many failures and scary epics. Nevis will always be a humbling place, but I would still like to redress the balance a little.

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