Thursday 9 June 2016

North By North West, direct

Racing ahead of my chasing pack of midges to arrive at the roof on North by North West direct (E7 6b). From here you swing wildly left along the lip and get cracking on the big wall above.

Last week I decided to teach myself the lesson for a third time that boulder project season is over. I know, I’m a slow learner. However, to be fair I still almost pulled off my project. Since then I have been trying to get my endurance off the floor. One place on my project list was The Bonaidh Donn near Torridon, not an often visited crag I don’t think. Which is a shame because although it’s quite far from the road it’s really good. 

There is one hard route there - an excellent sounding E7 of Stork’s called North by North West. It does a 5c first pitch and then traverses out above a roof to enter this wild finger crack soaring up an overhanging wall. I guessed a direct entry through the roof could be a good project. I went up and abseiled down for a look. Unfortunately the roof was blank. But there was obvious potential to come into the line along the lip of the roof from the right making a more direct single pitch version of the climb, probably at the same grade.

I went up on a super hot day with Alicia to have a go. After doing some other routes the midge appeared and the conditions were ridiculously bad. We sat with our hoods on and I contemplated the futility of trying it in full midge and heat. But I just don’t like going home without the route in the bag. So we went down and I tied in. In order that I didn’t melt, I was forced to take my midge hood and long sleeve top off to start up the initial wall. This provided about E7 6c midge factor scraping tons of midges off my arms while trying to get a first runner in. Things thankfully got more breezy by the roof and I was able to immensely enjoy the rest of the route, which didn’t feel too hard.

Great start to the trad season.

Alicia following 'Stoater' (Severe). The wall of North by North West can be seen in the background.

Alicia trying not to feed the midges

High on North by North West. Great line.

Good sunset beyond Loch Maree and the Minch


  1. It must have been nice to have the original route nicely chalked up. A novelty in Scotland having routes of that grade chalked ;-)

  2. Anonymous17 June, 2016

    Good post.