Steall Hut

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Dave MacLeod on Ring of Steall F8c+. (MacLeod Coll.)

Steall Hut is a crag for the hardcore, but with some amazing attributes: it is mostly permanently dry and has superb lines (trad and sport). It is also just about the midgiest crag in Scotland, so come prepped with a midge net for belaying. Conditions are generally excellent all summer, so it is the best non-mountain crag to climb hard over the summer in Scotland and avoid the grease. Stolen, Steall Appeal and Leopold are virtually permanently dry and can be climbed in heavy rain, but the finishes of Lame Beaver, Ring of Steall and Arcadia take a while to dry out - although it is possible to work on the lower parts of these routes at any time.

The crag catches a north easterly breeze for those who'd prefer a midge free visit. A knee pad is useful on the central routes.


From the road-end car park in Glen Nevis, follow the path to Steall Falls and cross the wire bridge. The crag is visible above Steall Hut. 20 min approach.


The left end of the crag is bounded by a large slab containing one route.

Steall Yard Blues E2 5b
Willie Jeffrey, Noel Williams 1983
Neglected and in need of a thorough clean to restore it to a climbable state. The big brown slab left of the main crag.

Steallhuttopo small.jpg

The right side of the crag is significantly steeper!

1. Lame Beaver E7 6b **
FFA Dave Cuthbertson 1987
Excellent safe but sparsely protected climbing at the left end of the main crag. A tricky move gains a shield of rock. Move up on edges to the overlap - good small cam and wire in a block overhead. Traverse right on good undercuts into a niche and pull out of this to jugs (crux). Superb climbing gains and climbs the easier flake crack in the headwall. Re-cleaned by Dave MacLeod in July 2007 - get on it!!

2. Project
Direct start to Stolen following the flared crack left of the corner - very hard!

2.a The Fat Groove F8a ***
Follow the diagonal corner/overlap system crossing Stolen to Join Trick of the Tail.

2.b Steallworker F8b ****
Follow previous but continue into Arcadia, reversing this for a few meters to join leopold. 40m. Two 8a's and multiple kneebar rests.

3. Stolen 8b ***
Dave MacLeod July 27 2007
Brilliant and perma-dry climbing up the overhanging walls and bulges left of Trick of the Tail. Difficult climbing leads leftwards to the big tooth (no-hands rest). Follow the undercut grooves above with more cruxes to a rest and yet another tricky section to gain the finishing headwall. The best 8b in Scotland?

4. Trick of the Tail E6 6b 20m
Mark McGowan 1989
The line linking the big niches in the centre of the crag. A blowtorch was used to dry stubbornly wet holds that ooze permenantly. Hence it's neglected now.

The FA of the obvious two cracklines up the middle of the crag were pinkpointed (gear in situ) and most choose to do so. There is nothing stopping those who'd like to make a clean ascent! (?????????--Mark McGowan 21:43, 26 May 2010 (BST))

5. Arcadia E7 6b (8a) *** 20m
Gary Latter 1993- FA Pink Pointed
This line follows the lefthand diagonal crack which crosses the centre of the crag. Starting on the righthand side of the cave follow good holds to the apex, knee-jam rest in crack on right (bring a knee pad). Follow the lefthand crack line past a series of cruxes on sloping holds. Very sustained climbing with good holds but poor feet. Bring gear for the crack, friend 1.0 essential for slot just past the apex. The last few metres are slow to dry so if you see it dry - do it! It's an excellent climb.

5.a Maxwell’s Demon 8b+ **
Start direct through the roof into Arcadia for a few meters (in situ gear/pegs for Arcadia) before pulling right onto the headwall along a faint overlap. Finish as top section of Ring of Steall.

6. Ring of Steall 8c+ *** 25m
Dave MacLeod 1st Aug 2007
The well-known project of Dave 'Cubby' Cuthbertson during the early nineties. Follow Leopold to just beyond its crux, then move left to the big undercut. A heinous boulder problem leads to the base of the leftward slanting crack which leads with slightly easier climbing to the top. Brilliant technical climbing.

6.a Project
Direct finish to Ring of Steall.

7. Leopold E7 6c (F8a) **** 20m
Murray Hamilton 1992 - FA Pink Pointed
This line follows the righthand diagonal crack which crosses the centre of the crag. Starting on the righthand side of the cave follow good holds to pull into the righthand crackline (knee jam). Follow the crackline on sloping holds past two cruxes until it is possible to pull rightwards along a series of undercuts. Pass a final crux above the resting jug to easier ground. Bolts, then in-situ wires, pegs and a cam. Bring gear. Permanently dry until the last couple of moves. Most choose to lower off here.

8. The Gurrie F8a+ ** 15m
Follow the groove from the start of Leopold to the overlap before making hard moves up and left to better holds. A Scottish version of the Yorkshire testpeice Magnetic Fields!

8.a More Appeal F8b * 15m
Just after the crux of the previous route climb right into the easier rampline section of Steall Appeal.

9. Steall Appeal F8b/+ * 12m
Malcolm Smith
Make an extremely desperate move above the boss using small sidepulls to reach a sloping hold and a ramp-line of better holds. At its top move back right via another hard move off an undercut to pull through on easier moves. The crucial pinch has crumbled slightly making the crux harder.

10.Watermark E4 6a 16m
Gary Latter
Neglected, nearly always wet and covered in layers of moss and slime.

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