Petestack Blog

24 February 2009

The White Line

Filed under: Climbing — admin @ 8:42 pm

On Sunday 22 February I climbed The White Line on Ben Nevis with Stephan Mors from Glasgow. An absolutely cracking route done in eight pitches of alternating leads, about half-and-half steepish ice and easier snow climbing, with two rope lengths of dripping icefall (freezing at 850m, aye right!) followed by two of snowfield, another two up a ‘chimney’ that’s maybe more of a groove leading to a gully with one very steep section, and another two of mostly easier (and much crisper) snow with some icy sections and no cornice to finish.

Have to say I got most of the best bits after Stephan chose to lead the first pitch, with the second icefall and steepest part of the upper gully (which both fell to me) providing the most sustained climbing. Now, that second icefall is *long* (60m ropes would have been better than our 50s here because we had to move together briefly to reach a decent belay above the second terrace), but the third just wasn’t there. However, since what we found seems to tally with Mike Pescod’s photo at and we took a very similar line (round the rocks above the second obvious terrace) to the one he’s marked, I’m guessing that this third icefall (‘sometimes difficult to start’) simply doesn’t form so readily? (Must ask Mike sometime!)

Overall, it was another great climb made all the more memorable by being snatched from another unpromising forecast. Might mention a slight whiff of possible sandbag at III in the conditions we found it in, but haven’t really done enough similar routes to be sure. However, I thought it was probably harder and certainly more sustained than Green Gully last weekend. No photos because the camera was intentionally left behind.

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