Well, here we go. I have finally managed to create myself a blog instead of being a 'guest writer'. I'm sure some of you are aware of my other two posts: One about that Carnmore route which I'm sure everyone is fed up with hearing about and my recent trip to Spain. I keep a regularly updated Flickr which again, I'm aware that most people who read this will be aware of. For me, that means more than a blog; the photo's tell the story. However, I have been encouraged by some friends (Initially Nick Carter many years ago) that it would be funny if I wrote down my rants about the world. When I mean the world, I mean climbing in North West Scotland.
The winter climbing season has started. Everyone is out today climbing today, hopefully enjoying the snow, loose block and stuff. Instead, I rekindled my 'Graham' bagging and enjoyed a run up Beinn Tharsuinn near my house. It was a great few hours out experiencing sun, wind and snow. Here is a picture of the top.
The summit trig point rimming up.
If anyone is interested to read on, below is an account of a new route I did with Guy Robertson in July. I wrote it ages ago but never did anything about it. The English is probably a bit shonky, but if you can see past that, I hope you enjoy it!
New World Order
Why has no one ever climbed the groove left of Fascist Groove Thang? I’ve been asking that for a while now. It’s so obvious! Surely Storky must have seen it?! Never mind, its mine now ;-)
Last Monday, (21.7.14) was my first visit into Beinn Eighe this summer. I had teamed up with Guy Robertson who was psyched to try a new line. Walking up my favourite slope (I hate it when it ends) was made was quite pleasurable with a damp mist swirling about which kept us cool. However, the dampness was clinging onto the crag parts of the crag along with some seepage which was a bit of a pain to see on arrival. I guess it was seeping from the rain fall on Saturday afternoon/evening. The entry pitch to this new route looked pretty uninviting. How unfortunate I thought. I suppose we better try Fascist Groove Thang or this unclimbed groove to the left. The FGT was damp as well but the new line looked dry so we opted for that.
Guy on pitch 1
Guy did pitch one which shares FGT entry pitch. I arrived at the belay and sorted all the gear bla bla bla. Looking up the groove, I thought it looked easy, then hard. That’s pretty much it to be honest. But I’ll give you a bit more of a story. Setting off, I was concerned that the crack in the corner was a bit damp for my liking. At least there was bomber gear which teased me further up. You get to this overlap where you can get into a wide bridge and sort of shake out. In fact, a pretty strenuous shake out. The undercut flake thing that you use was all damp and slimy which wasn't helping.
Ach well, at least the kit is good, I’ll push on. Some pretty mad layback moves then foot swapping, then a lunge for a slopey crimp on the left wall, I was screaming at Guy that I was off. But I was somehow still hanging in there. I could see this bomber wire slot in the groove. Struggling to take a hand off, I somehow got the bunch of wires into my mouth. Then I got one into the crack. The next issue was getting the bunch of wires back. I couldn’t. I was falling. But I wasn’t, I’m still on. I managed to clip a rope into the same snapgate with the wires. Still on….I managed to get a quick draw off my harness, into my mouth, then onto the wire. I even managed to get the rope into the quickdraw. I had this thought of carrying on and leaving the wires. Hmm, I better not. Guy agreed. That would be a bit stupid. I tried frantically to get them off. I couldn’t. I finally fell. Oh well.
So I got my wires back, lowered to the belay, pulled the ropes, had a rest then went again. I got a bit further this time but fell again. Not making excuses but the crimps on the wall just a bit dirty and greasy. I guess trying this onsight/ground up, things will be dirty so I gave the holds a good brush for my next attempt. Same process, down to the belay ledge, ropes pulled, up again. I got to a semi rest and announced to Guy it looked like an E1 up the roof then easy. Wrong! Gaining the underside of the roof was still pretty strenuous. I had no cams that were the correct size. The one I used was just a bit under cammed for my liking. Oh yeh, I remember, there is a tapered slot round the roof. I placed a wire blindly. Tugged it. Bomb proof. So turning the roof was quite exciting. The cracks just felt a bit dirty plus not much for your feet. Passing the roof, my wire popped out of the flared slot. Great! Fighting to stay on I managed to regain some composure. Digging deep, I managed to get two cams in which were ok. I couldn’t move. I was wrecked. Physically and mentally drained. Somehow, I dug even deeper moved my feet and lunged for a slot which my fingers locked into, then another higher for the other hand. Thank god. Two more bomber wires, some more stiff pulls, my body was in a wreck.
Guy following the pitch
The belay consisted of 3 micro wires which was a bit stressful till I found 2 medium wire placements in a slot. Guy followed the pitch in good style. It must have been desperate seconding after just belaying for a long time. We had 2 options for the top pitch. We hoped our main plan of keeping on the line and turning the roofs on the left would work out and not be too horrific. Guy set off to have a look. Boldly scouting out the lip of the roof, the quartzite typically supplied some good holds which encouraged rapid upward progress. I love it when the climber is out of sight and as a tired belayer, the ropes are constantly needing fed out! This top pitch was pretty cool. Intimidating airy climbing on good holds which provided fitting final pitch to the strenuous pitch that lurked below.
Guy on the top pitch
I’ve spent a lot of time Far East Wall both in summer and winter. It’s cool to have finally added a new line to this wall. Especially a line which I’ve been so curious about for years. Despite falling off and doing the pitch ground up, I’m really happy with the style we approached it in.
New World Order E6 6b ***
Murdoch Jamieson & Guy Robertson (21.7.14)
This follows the obvious corner which leads to roofs to the left of Fascist Groove Thang. Strenuous and well protected. Both first and second ascents thought top end of the grade.
P1. 45m 5b. As for Fascist Groove Thang
P2. 25m 6b. Climb the corner with increasing difficulty, passing an overlap until it is possible to gain small edges on the left wall. Make moves up right to reach the base of the crack which leads to a roof. Turn the roof on its right to gain another crack. Follow this for a few moves (Sting in the tail!) till its possible to step right and belay on small ledge (Immediately up left of ‘The Fascist Groove’).
P3. 30m 5b Traverse left and up into the corner below the roof. Make airy moves out left to gain the arête. Follow this to the top.