Scotland 2022

Winter Climbing on the Ben

2 trips of winter climbing have been done this year! After missing, a couple of years from Covid had to get back to do some climbing!

The first trip was over a weekend in January, managed to squeeze in 3 routes in 2 days, the snow line was high, and not much ice. Enough Ice to make a couple of belays but no ice climbing routes.

Gully Number 3 Central buttress

On the first trip, we did Gully Number 3 Central Buttress, Gully Number 2, and Gully Number 4.

The second trip was 8 days! 5 days staying in Fort William and 3 days in the CIC hut at the bottom of the North Face. The hut is a prime location, saving a 2-hour walk in, nice lay-ins, early back! I’d say luxury, but it has no showers, 2 toilets, and sleeps around 28 people in 2 giant bunk beds! Worth it though!!

Started the week with Jake, we got to do Central Gully Right-Hand, North-East Buttress, and Vanishing Gully. All 3* top climbs, North-East Buttress is an epic day route, Vanishing Gully is a superb ice climb going at grade V. We got a bit of bad weather so venture to a dry tooling crag and then some indoor climbing.

I then joined the Peak Climbing Club in the CIC hut and got on Raeburn’s Easy Route & Ledge Route. Both 3* grade II climbs, I was guiding Lucy from the climbing club who didn’t have much experience so these routes are perfect. I managed to sneak in a couple of easy gully solos though on the Douglas gap.

The weather can only be described as outstanding! blue skies and sunshine! two rare things in Scotland, even rarer in winter on the Ben!

Already looking at booking for 2023, and hoping the snow sticks around for a winter traverse of the Cuillin Ridge at end of April!

The next trip is to Wales in a couple of weeks’ time! looking forward to that one.

Winter Routes ticket off on Ben Nevis for 2022

  • Number 3 Gully Buttress (direct finish) – Grade IV 5
  • Number 3 Gully – Grade I
  • Number 4 Gully – Grade I
  • Number 2 Gully – Grade II
  • Centarl Gully Right-Hand – Grade IV 4
  • North East Buttress – Grade IV 5
  • Vanishing Gully – Grade V 5
  • Douglas Gap West Gully – Grade I
  • Douglas Gap East Gully – Grade I
  • Raeburns Easy Route – Grade II
  • Ledge Route – Grade II

Trips and Training

After the Hardmoors i had a week off and felt good for it. The first run i did was a steady 10miles down the Pennine Way, taking in Kinder Falls and back. The legs felt good, bit tired towards the end. Last 2 miles was a push but it was downhill and on nice flagged moors.

From there i had a trip into the Lake District planned. This was part of the new Trig Ring unveiling on top of Blencathra. And it was also a chance to meet a few people off of Instagram. So there is a Whatsapps group that is full of people off Instagram that are into the same kind of stuff, hiking, running, climbing, anything outdoors really. On the Whatsapp group everyone plans trips and meet ups, kinda cool. Using social media to actually be social!

So my plan for the Lakes was get up there early Saturday morning. Go for a 20km run in the fells, then a spot of bouldering. Sleep in the YHA then on Sunday meet up and head up Blencathra.

The run was pretty good. Started just outside Keswick, up Walla Crag onto Bleaberry Fell, High Seat and High Tove. Obviously  bagging a few Wainwrights along the way! The run from Bleaberry Fell, High Seat and High Tove was pretty much a big fest, and made for some slow running and wet legs!

But i got 20km in, with 644m (2178ft) of elevation, in 2hours 30mins. So considering the bogs and wet lumpy ground i was pretty pleased.

The Sunday was all about Blencathra, we headed up to the top around 8:30. With the unveiling happening around 11:00. The planned routes were up Halls Fell Ridge and back down Sharp Edge. These are two awesome routes for scrambling. And i will defiantly be back up in the winter with crampons and ice axe in tow.  If anyone is heading up Blencathra, take in these two routes.

At the top for the unveiling was Stephen Birkinshaw, he wrote the book ‘There is No Map in Hell’ about his running journey taking in all the Wainwrights in 6days and 13hours. He’s still the current record holder, so i took the book up and got him to sign it!

After that i’ve had a couple of local small races, one being the first Trunce Race and the first Spencers Dash. This weekend i also volunteered for the inaugural Pennine Bridleway 57km. I was one of the race sweepers, it was a really nice day and great route. I did about 30 miles of sweeping, but i started getting a twinge in my groin so i got a lift back while the other sweeper, John, carried on the last 5 miles. So in effect i DNF as a sweeper πŸ™‚ The race was along the Pennine Bridleway through the Peak District, mainly along old railway lines, so it was a pretty flat course.

Next up is the Great Lakeland 3 Day event! Beginning of May, bag myself some more Wainwrights! Although i need to get back into a training routine and sort my diet out. They have both been a bit lax recently!