The weather may have turned a bit warm this January for most of us but it would seem that the Scottish mountain remain in pretty good condition, with some significant ice and mixed climbs being ticked off throughout the course of the last few months.
Probably most significant is the second ascent of The Hurting on Coire an t’Sneachda in the Cairngorms. This immense mixed route was first tackled by Dave MacLeod in 2005 who graded it at XI, 11! His comment at the time was that it was possibly the ‘hardest traditionally protected mixed climb in the world’.
Since ‘05 no one has repeated MacLeod feat, until now! Just a few days ago, Andy Turner, one of MacLeod’s climbing partners announced that he had made the 2nd ascent of The Hurting. In his blog, he describes how he attempted it on a previous occasion but was fought back by poor weather and an inadequate rack (packed by someone else apparently!).
“…Above here is some wild briding to finally give you some good gear. This was the point the wheels were quickly about to fall off. Looking ahead you can see what looks like a good ledge under the roof which makes a good target to aim for, unfortunately I was a bit to eager to get there and using a poor torque in a crack quickly found myself hanging on the end of the rope…”
This time, things were different, although by no means simple. The first part of the climb was partly cleaned of ice from his previous attempt and so the good neve and solid axe positioning that you he needed for such a tough climb could not be found. After clearing his previous fall point Andy ventured into the unknown section;
“…Reaching out on straight arms to get a look my heart sank. The first 15ft all seemed to overhang. I was just praying for good hooks. After what seems like an age, it was time to confront the thing head on. Finding some good placements over the roof I quickly turned on the boosters and fully went for it. The cracks were fully choked with ice which gave good placements and pushed me on, keen to get through the steepness with all guns blazing. Reaching the next resting place I looked down at the last runner, way down under the roof and the arms suddenly got very heavy…”
For the full account of the climb, plus other mental achievements, then head to Andy’s blog.
See Andy and Dave MacLeod in action below;