Day 1 - Centurion, Carn Dearg, Ben NevisThe route we opted for was Centurion. So called because of the way the huge overlapping slabs resemble the armour plate of a Roman Centurion is a classic to end all classics. We left the car at 8 and with light legs we raced up to the CIC and then on to Carn Dearg in just over an hour however to our despair we still found somebody else at the base. A bunch of lads from Dundee University had beaten us to it but no worries - being British we joined the que and took an enforced lounge in the sun.
|Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis, Centurion (HVS 5a) follows|
the obvious central crackline for a full 200m
|Rafe Topping out on the sensational second pitch|
|The thrutchy traverse on pitch 3 out above the void|
|Rafe breezing up Pitch 4 towards the sunshine|
|Half way up... Still a long way to go though!|
|The view accross to Tower Ridge from a chilly Carn Dearg|
|Rafe finding an intricate line towards the roofs|
|The final overhanging wall that forms the last pitch|
|Classic one slain by the chumps.. Worth every star!|
|Nigel leading the final pitch though the overhangs|
The route had everything from steep cracks to delicate slab climbing. We swapped leads the entire way hoping the route would never end! After several hours we reached where it terminates at ledge route. Regardless of the weather the rest of the trip, this one route had made the boys holiday a success!
We followed up our victory with drinking pints until close in the Clachaig then thanking there resilience of putting up with our bad odour by camping in their beer garden.
Day 2 - Unicorn, Stob Corie Nan LochanUndoubtedly the hardest walk-in was made no easier by an apparent lack of wind and an abundance of 30 degree heat. After sweating away we eventually reach the corie and got our first glimpse of the route.
|Tramping it chump style and getting geared up for another epic day!|
|The mighty south buttress of Stob Corie Nan Lochan, Unicorn (E1 5b) climbs directly|
up the obvious central chimney
|No expense was spared fuelling the boys|
|Rafe being baked on the thrutchy first pitch.|
|Usually you have to bust open the ice before you can swim in a river|
in Glen Coe
Day 3 - Bludgers Revelation, Slime Wall, The BuachailleThe face of Slime Wall, high on the side of Buachallie plays host to some of the Glen's most formidable climbs such as Shibboleth (E2 5c) and also Raven's Gully (HVS 5a - apparently the hardest gully in the UK!). Being slightly hungover we settled with the all time classic Bludgers Revelation HVS 5a.
|Slime Wall on the side of Buachille Etive Mor in Glen Coe, |
a week into a drought and its still moist!
The approach to this climb is even harder than the previous days. To get to the base first you have to climb to just below the final towers of Great Gully Ridge. After that a loose traverse must be made into upper Great Gully then up steep and loose ground the base of Raven's Gully. The hangover had defiantly be sweated out by the time we were stood at the bottom.
|Exposed climbing on the upper pitches of Bludgers Revelations (HVS 5a)|
with a party on Shibboleth behind.
The first pitch breaks out across the face and above the ever-growing void to a neat belay below by some blocks. The second pitch is up the steep, wet crack. Its hard but is probably the best protected pitch on the whole route. The 'link' pitch then herds you up some steep slabs around a corner past a few holds which need probably need trundling.
|Rafe at the top with the whole world at his feet|
|Climbers on the final exposed pitch of Shibboleth (E2 5c), truly the greatest|
rock climb on the planet!
Day 4 - The Hammer, Glen Etive Slabs
Could it really happen? Could we really have a good day on what's rumoured to be the most fickle venue in Scotland?! Well we got there in bright sunny haze, with not a midge to be found anywhere.
|Looking up Etive Slabs. The huge swathe of compact slabs|
lie at a mere 40 degree angle but the odd overlap provide some entertainment
|Looking down the crux pitch as the rain moves in.. Time to get the hell off!|
|Friction climbing on granite slabs in the rain.. Sod that! Bail time!|
Thanks Rafe for coming to visit. The chumps from Aberystwyth came, saw and conquered. If you want adventure, look no further than north of the boarder!