Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Centurion - worth the wait

The heat wave continues.... and getting closer to the weekend I was excited for possibilities, but unsure what was coming because of changing plans and climbing partners however a chance message set the path - Centurion on Ben Nevis.

Going to be a bonny day!
I've wanted to climb Centurion the famous Whillians route for over 10 years and when I found out that Andy had the same idea and has wanted to climb it for 20 years then well it would be rude not to.

Theres our wee crag
I left Inverness at 5.30am, Andy drove up from Preston the night before - the lengths we go to! It was warm and midgy when we met in the North Face carpark, but the midges weren't an issue after the forest.

Brief wait for pitch 1!
What a day with perfect weather, and we made good time to the CIC hut where we bumped into Murdo, who said he was up doing some second ascents of new (Dave) Macleod routes on the Comb Buttress... it slightly made our HVS seem quite a small endeavour but we weren't worried.

Pitch 2 before it got gnarly!
We were the second team on the route, and what a route indeed. Every pitch was memorable. Pitch 1 - hard moves off the ground were a shock to the system. Pitch 2 (crux in my mind) - was a longgg corner, meant to be only 35m, but went on and on getting harder and harder.. I ran out of the 15 quickdraws! Pitch 3 - physical traverse then nice clean easier climbing in a dramatic position. Pitch 6 - second crux taking the easiest line through some roofs on hidden holds. Pitch 7 - only 4c, but a real sting in the tail and hard to get through (unexpectedly).

Pitch 3

During the day I realised that I've never been to the Ben in summer, and it's even more impressive than in winter, an absolute sea of rock and opportunity.

Official crux, pitch 6... easier than pitch 2

In the bag! Look at all of that rock..
We were both elated when we got to the ledge at the top and after taking in the view we descended Ledge Route. It is without doubt the best HVS mountain route I have ever climbed... but now I quite fancy Bullroar (HVS), King kong (E2) and The Bat (E2)...

friendly deer, the Douglas Boulder (Tower ridge) and NE Buttress behind

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