The crag above No. 4 Gully. I took a line trending up and right from the snowy bay in the bottom left.
Overlooking Number 4 Gully on the right hand side is a short crag made up of turfy corners, grooves and ramps and looked nicely white and iced as we approached. We decided to try a likely looking groove line up the centre of the wall. I lead off, coming to an abrupt halt at a tricky step that was slightly undercut. Where were my feet? Skating about in search of a hidden hold. In the end there was nothing for it; bury the tools in something frozen and heave-ho. With judicious use of knee I flopped onto a ramp and continued up, panting and swearing. After 45m of turf, rock, neve and ice I slithered up a V-groove into a pleasant snowy gully and belayed Gaz up. He then followed the crest on the left of the gully for about 25m to the top, popping out about 50m to the right of the top of No. 4. Wow, convenience climbing on Ben Nevis.
Gaz Davies on the last V-groove of pitch 1.
Gaz on the crest of pitch 2.
Gaz endures heavy snow beneath the crux on pitch 1 of the second line.
Gaz on the final awkward step
We felt both routes were about 70m long and around IV,5, with maintained interest all the way. I'm in consultation with the powers-that-be to find out if they were new lines, but regardless, it was a great adventurous day out. The crag has loads of potential for other routes, and it's really accessible (except for being at the top of the Ben), perfect for second routes or shorter days and being so high is probably in nick regularly. So get busy.The alarm was as unwelcome as the day before when it kicked me into life yesterday. I snoozed as Gaz drove down to the Coe and groaned as we stomped into Stob Coire Nan Lochan (Stobbers, as it is becoming known by the Banff Crescent glitterati). We thought about getting scared on Chimney Route (VI,6) but neither of us fancied an hour of thrutching and wriggling so decided to climb Twisting Grooves, a IV,5 to the left of Twisting Gully. It's a nice wee route with two good mixed pitches and two snowy 'fillers'. We felt if it was IV,5 our routes the day before were probably about the same grade. It was only 13.00 when we topped out but neither of us was particularly bothered about another route, feeling smug and satisfied by the weekends endeavours, so slid back down to the car for tea and tiffin.
Myself after pitch 3 of Twisting Grooves
Just heard from Simon Richardson and both our lines have been done by him before! Nothing else has been done up there though so I'll have to get back up. The first route is called Triton Corners, IV,5 and the second is Poseidon Grooves, IV,5. Nice to see we got the grades right at least.