Petestack Blog

4 January 2010

An Steall Ban

Filed under: Climbing — admin @ 11:34 pm

This evening I climbed An Steall Ban (more commonly, but quite incorrectly, known as Steall Falls) with Chuck. And, while this stunning (but rarely frozen) 120m Grade III cascade has been both climbable and popular for the past five days or so, it’s looking like we might have got to it just in time. There’s a great big gash right down the middle and bits falling off, but we were still able to climb the full height just left of said gash with one fairly creaky section. Four pitches all told, with the first and third (which started with the creaky traverse) falling to me, the second and fourth to Chuck, and all but my slightly rusty first pitch lead (my first time out this winter!) completed by torchlight. The climbing’s really quite amenable, but you wouldn’t want to be on any of those great chunks of ice when they come crashing down! So perhaps a good overnight freeze will help to keep it hanging on but it wasn’t cold up there when we left, although the road beyond Scimitar Buttress is still pretty well impassable to all but 4x4s and we had to leave the van (which turns out to be rubbish on packed snow or ice) on the way up and walk.

Afraid I also lost an ice screw, but not by dropping. So I’ve discovered I’ve got a problem with the handles of my Grivel Helixes catching on something and twisting themselves out of my BD clippers, was lucky not to lose some more and need to work out why this has been happening because screws taking themselves off my harness when I’m not looking is not something I can put up with! :-/

Sorry no photos because (although we took a camera) the combination of darkness and the damp that came with the start of the fresh snow wasn’t just that conducive to photography when climbing the thing quickly and getting off were higher priorities.


  1. Wow. That must have been amazing. I like that waterfall a lot and have seen it numerous times, but never frozen over. Happy New Year! Silke

    Comment by Silke — 5 January 2010 @ 10:45 pm

  2. Hi Silke, and Happy New Year to you and Thomas! :-)

    To get some idea of what it was like, you might like to look at the photos and video of Al Halewood and Rich Parker’s ascent on New Year’s Day on Al’s blog at The main differences between that and our ascent being that we climbed all of it in roped pitches (chucking expensive ice screws away being even more entertaining than forgetting to bring them!), mostly in the dark and probably had rather more water to avoid up the central part.

    Comment by admin — 5 January 2010 @ 11:32 pm

  3. See also

    Comment by admin — 5 January 2010 @ 11:36 pm

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