Next it was up to Torridon. I met Scott in Fort William and sat in the kitchen hoping he wasnt listening to hard to Hannah telling him of our failure to climb “Central Buttress – VS route” on Beinn Eighe a couple of years ago. Not because I was embarrassed by our failure but that I had hopes for a second attempt and Scott was coming too. First up we headed to the Bealach na Ba for a route in the sunshine. Scott gearing up for the crux pitch of Sword of Gideon at the Bealach na Ba. A quick route here, some lunch and then the walk into Beinn Eighe. We decided to head to the east wall of Beinn Eighe in the late afternoon to climb “The Sting” Scott high on the first pitch of the Sting. While only short (3 pitches) this route had an awesome big mountain feel (lots of loose rock, dubious gear and large amounts of exposure) The sun was setting as we climbed the last pitch. Stunning light as we headed back to our kit at the mouth of the Lochan.
The next morning we headed to the Central buttress. I backed off the crux corner pitch of this 2 years ago. I was baffled as the corner was full of black slime and hard climbing. At “0nly” VS 4c I should have felt pretty comfortable! This time I decided it couldnt be as bad as I’d remembered. The first worrying thing was seeing the gear that I had left behind before. Why would it not have been taken? Why had the black slime not dried up? As I pushed on up the corner I came across more and more gear left behind and it became evident that a lot of people bail off this pitch. I dont mind a bit of wet rock here and there but after 60m (I only just got to the belay!) of pretty out there climbing I can only say that that pitch is harder than any of the E1 pitches I have climbed recently. Definitely a classic though!Scott near the top of the corner pitch. Good effort with the bag as well! If you look carefully you can see that the left side of his (my!) jacket is sopping wet!
At the bivy spot looking at the Buttresses of Beinn Eighe The view from the Bivi just after Sunset. Coire Mhic Fherchiar and the triple buttressesGood nutrition is always so important in the mountains!
After a slightly weird night in Kinlochewe we headed up to the wonderfull Seanna Mheallan crag with a great outlook onto Liatach. Just as we were leaving the sun swung aroung onto the crag lighting up some routes I’m coming back for. Scott at the base of “Crack of Ages”.