New Scottish IX Onsighted in Switzerland

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Simon Munro - 31/03/2005

On a recent trip to Switzerland, Ben Wilkinson met up with Swiss ex-pat Matt Spenceley. On the first day of the trip they climbed a hard new trad mixed line in the Roseleui gorge near Interlaken. Satisfaction Scottish IX,9 climbs two beautiful obvious ice features linked by a fierce roof crack. Although fairly short the climbing is very strenuous and a fall would have been unthinkable as the protection is in exfoliating rock. The route was very smoothly onsighted by Matt placing all gear on lead. Ben then went in for the flash straight after Matt had stripped the gear.

Thwarted by two metres of fresh snow and an incident with uncle Monte the pair also managed some quick redpoints including Tomahawk M11-, Whiteout M10+ and the mega classic Pink Panther M10-.

Back in Scotland Robin Thomas and Ben found conditions amazing in the North West and promptly onsighted a mega steep new line on Fuar Tholl. Sandblaster VIII,7 ( on the same buttress as Sandstorm) provided a proper adventure with 6 long pitches climbed into the night in a typical Scottish storm being blasted by spindrift - great fun! Because of the compact nature of the sandstone, protection and belays were at times fairly marginal. The route also features the novelty of probably one of the thinnest hooks ever pulled on above gear in Scotland by Robin!

Ben then teamed up with Will Woodhead and Stuart Macdonald to climb probably one of the best routes in the North West, Great Overhanging gully VI,7 with two leads each nobody was disappointed with their pitches- superb route. Stu put his alpine fitness to use and also managed to climb a desperately thin Cold Hole VII,6, Tholl Gate VI,6, Gully of the Gods VI,7, Salmon Leap VI,6, Poachers Falls V,5 and Umbrella Falls V,5- Awesome stuff. A list of elusive gems most NW devotees spend a lifetime chasing, he nailed them all and more in less than a week! Stu and Ben then went south to find Chimney route VI,6 in Stob Coire with a weep of ice down the left wall providing nice placements for the feet while back and footing. Neaderthal VII,7 was also in incredible condition with the second pitch drooling with ice from all the cracks and the third pitch had a massive weep of ice down it which provided some welcome placements. Harder to protect but much more fun in these conditions. Ben finished his season by making a quick onsight of Cornucopia VII,9 on Ben Nevis in perhaps easy conditions with a fat layer of icy hoar frost over everything.

Ben would like to thank Montane, Grivel and Scarpa for their ongoing support.

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