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Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Tempest: Act 4, Scene1, Glencoe.

Dave MacLeod scratches his way up Neil Gresham's M9 in Glen Coe, The Tempest.
All photographs copyright Steven Gordon

On Thursday, Dave MacLeod and myself made the slog up to Stob Coire Nan Lochan, to take a look at Gresham's route The Tempest. Gresham first climbed the route with all the gear pre-placed, hence its continental style grade. Our friend Andy Turner had managed to climb the line ground up, the week before grading the route IX, 9. Andy had looked at the line a couple of times before his brilliant ascent, so we went to have a look. Dave got on the line and managed to get two-thirds of the way up before coming down shattered after spending two and a half hours on tiny hooks, digging out the protection and managing not to fall off, just... He down-climbed, so he could clain the onsight, but it was a hard push. The face was really plastered with snow, so most of the effort went into clearing the line, rather than pushing skywards. I was staring up from the belay on one occasion, well more craning up due to the steepness of the line, when his whole body appeared silhouetted against the blue sky heading for the ground. Some how, he held on to one rather dodgy axe placement, and hauled himself back onto the line. I was sure he was off, and had jumped off the belay to brace for his weight being transformed onto a somewhat iffy peg placement, when the expected weight never arrived on the rope...don't know how he did it, but he did. Nice one Dave!
Dave MacLeod on the upper third of The Tempest

The Tempest, Stob Coire Nan Lochan, Glen Coe

Dave returned the next day to finish the route, after nearly running out of protection on his first attempt. After a call to Andy, he discovered he used nearly double the amount of runners, so properly equiped, Dave returned to bag the fourth ascent of the line, and the first onsight.
I'll be back out in the hills next week, but till then it is the usual mixture of work, work and more work. I was in the garage earlier fueling the car, and looking around you realised that everybody had that look of an easy weekend, and I must confess to feeling jealous. Even writing this blog is rushed, as I need to get back to studying, before putting a shift in tonight and tomorrow. When I'm rich, it will be all worth while but till then, back to the gindstone, as ever.