Petestack Blog

13 October 2010

From Ardverikie to Ardnamurchan

Filed under: Climbing — admin @ 3:47 pm

Just had my brother Angus here for the weekend, collecting him from Tyndrum on Saturday and nipping up the Buachaille by Curved/Crowberry Ridges on the way home.

Climbed the great classic Severe (surely not HS?) Ardverikie Wall on Sunday, some 20 years after my only previous ascent. Ran pitches 1 & 2 together (the guidebook pitch 2 is brilliant, taking contorted jugs up a steep rib I still remember after all those years before finishing up a run-out slab), then later 4 & 5 after rejecting the low belay spike and most awkward stance of the route in favour of climbing on with my 60m ropes. Thought the big crack (strangely avoided on the first ascent?) of guidebook pitch 3 excellent, but was surprised how quickly the ‘crux’ of the supposedly stunning pitch 4 gave way to much easier ground and enjoyed my big ‘combo’ pitch all the more for keeping up the interest there. Also don’t know why I took a chalk bag (see first photo) up the route because I never even used it once!

Now, you might deduce from those photos that Sunday’s weather was as good as it gets here for the time of year but, with the wind dropping and the sunny blue sky staying, you’d have run out of superlatives to describe a perfect October Monday’s cragging with six routes/nine pitches in T-shirts in the stunning setting of the Ardnamurchan Ring! Did Oswald (HS), An Toiseach (V Diff), Yir (VS), Crater Comforts (VS), An Deireadh AKA Krakatoa (Diff) + Severe finish and Greta Gabbro (VS), with Angus leading An Toiseach and the first pitch of An Deireadh although I’d also have given him the second pitch of Crater Comforts if I’d known how sub-VS 4c it was. Thought Oswald quite nippy for HS with poor gear just where it’s needed most and the first pitch of Crater Comforts fair at VS for similar reasons, but that second pitch is a romp (low exposure, straightforward gear and more like 4a?) by comparison. To continue this contribution to the great Ardnamurchan grading debate, I’d place the supposedly soft-touch Yir (after my second ascent) squarely at VS 4c (technically more sustained on its main pitch, but comfortably protectable), but agree with those who’ve suggested Greta Gabbro (my third ascent) to be soft at the grade (really just one or two slightly tricky/bold moves, so maybe VS 4b?).

Might just add that (with the smaller Corran ferry running off the temporary pier in daylight hours only) we’d planned from the start to climb all day and drive round Loch Eil for a chippy in the Fort on the way home. So that’s what we did, topping out from Greta Gabbro at c.6:15pm and stopping up the south side of Loch Eil for a few minutes some two-and-a-half to three hours later to gaze at a spectacular starlit sky. Maybe going to get another weekend with Angus before he flies back to the States in a fortnight but, considering it’s October and he just flew over Thursday/Friday with this past one earmarked for climbing weeks back, how jammy is that?

collected Angus from Tyndrum, nipped up the Buachaille by Curved/Crowberry Ridges on the way home and looking forward to some sunny climbing over the next couple of days.


  1. Wasn’t it a 5***** weather weekend, Pete! We were over towards Knoydart accompanying a chum on his final Munro. Much bubbly on the summit, but one of the canine team snaffled a lot more than his share of the shortbread while all our backs were turned.

    I digress, though? How are your ribs mending??? No mention of them recently.

    Murdo t M

    Comment by Murdo — 13 October 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  2. As good or better than any summer day, Murdo! And better the shortbread than the bubbly in your case (for the dug too)?

    Ribs are nearly better but can still be aggravated to a dull ache, so running’s been limited speed/distance-wise, I’m still feeling the occasional climbing move and have too much unwanted weight to shift. But, apart from scrubbing my plan to do the Eddie’s (Fort William) Half-Marathon on 7 November (not interested with no chance of a PB!), not too concerned when there could have been worse times in the long run for some ‘down’ time.

    Comment by admin — 13 October 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  3. Think you are spot on with your grading comments Pete. Never have agreed with JBs dissing Yir as soft but GG is a Crater Comforts 2nd pitch is never 4c unless there is a line there that we have all been missing!
    Was there myself today- a bit greyer but dry.

    Comment by Alan Halewood — 13 October 2010 @ 11:13 pm

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