Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Long Climb VS 4c *** Ben Nevis

The guide book says this is the longest vertical face climb in mainland Britain, of almost alpine stature.
Friday 29th April 2011, up at 4am, meet Craig 5am, no faff, coffee and head into the night. Just over 2 hours later we roll into the north face car park, bags on and head up the track. 25 mins later and we are the top car park and heading to NEB. After negotiating the snow patch at the bottom of Orion face I led up the first slab taking the right hand variation (4c). The next pitch (4a) has a super cool airy traverse from the belay to gain two parallel cracks. These are climbed for 45m and offer really good exposed climbing. The ground eases and we are in the basin of Orion. The traverse is straightforward enough but still holds snow. Through leads and we arrive at the second slab. This is a great pitch (4c) up the slab and traverse onto the left edge for some super moves in a fantastic position. Craig climbed through and we headed for what the guide book called easier ground, but our keen nose for a line had us seek out difficult loose ground instead. 8.30pm (dusk) and we are weaving our way across the Orion face, Zero Gully and eventually topping out of Slav Route and Ben Summit at 9.17pm (see photo below for route).

Handshake, hug (for surviving what was an epic long climb), pic, half a sarnie and we bundle the gear as quickly as possible into our sacks and head for the tourist track under the cover of darkness.

Coke, fish & chips, cramp in the car (me) big Z'zzzz (Craig) and we are home in Glasgow 23hrs later at 3am.

What a day, what a climb, what a team ...Epic.

More details can be found on Mark's blog, http://vertical-obsession.blogspot.com and Craig's Blog http://outactive.blogspot.com





The Orion and Minus faces of North East Buttress with the Long Climb in Red

 Getting to the bottom of the route proved tricky


Craig following the parallel cracks (4a)

Craig 


From pitch 7 looking towards Tower Ridge

Mark, serious face

Mark heading up the second slab pitch (4c)
Mark and Craig both happy to be on the summit at 9.30pm. Magic !

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