Pics; (first 4) Me on the first pitch
After returning from the Alps on Saturday, I was keen to get out climbing again so today James and I headed up to Beinn Udlaidh to get stuck into the fat ice that James had been raving about over the past few days.
We went up to do The Smirk, but when we got to the route there was already a team on it and another two at the bottom waiting. So we decided to do something else, as we where walking away I noticed a good looking steep line to the left of the Smirk. It had an ice bulge at the bottom then a rock traverse to a hanging icicle. It looked very continental with some rock hooks between the ice.
The route looked good, so I jumped on it and got stuck into the surprisingly good climbing. The first ice section was straight forward and then came the tricky traverse which was fairly strenuous and steep. Once I was on to the hanging icicle and got a screw in, I made my way up the hidden thin icy groove which was home to more ice than I expected, then to the fatter ice near the top.
I took a belay and called to James to start climbing. When I started taking in the rope and finally could see my second I got really confused when I realised it was not James who was coming up but Tim Blakemore. I then learned that James was not keen to do the route and had bumped into Tim at the bottom who was waiting to do the Smirk so it all worked out in the end as Tim was psyched to climb the route. He then went on to lead the short but steep last pitch.
Pic; Tim leading the top pitch.
I have made some enquiries and I am pretty sure this is a new line. It goes at about VI/7 and I think I’ll call it “The Grin”. It was a great line and if anyone else gets on, it would be good to hear what you think.
We then walked off and met back up with James who went on to lead The Smirk (V/5***) and had a blast while doing so.
Pic; James leading The Smirk