Redemption on Smith’s Route

James had sufficiently recovered today to make a return visit to Ben Nevis, and as it was our last day of climbing, we felt we had unfinished business on Smith’s Route, V,5.

We made an early start to avoid poor conditions which would set in later in the day. Fresh legs made a difference on the walk in and trudge up Observatory Gully. Windslab was being put down thick and fast, but we reached the start of the route in good time.

I took the first pitch, which went smoothly, although I cut my nose open with my adze, leaving a trail of blood for James. I found placing ice screws with big gloves awkward, but was encouraged by my lead. It was then James’ turn to lead, and with renewed confidence of the route, he stepped out on the initial steep ice, which forms the crux. He was slightly nervous, but with good footwork and some shake-outs, was soon over the icicle.

Thankfully, the gear we left at the belay was still in place, so I collected that and made my way up the crux, which deserves its description in the guidebook as ‘a serious pitch’. It was definitely ‘out there’, but again, I was encouraged for future climbing that it was not too technically difficult, just requiring a steady head and courageous approach.

I then romped up the third pitch and topped out in a blizzard. We quickly took in the summit and then made our way off via the Red Burn, wet through, but very happy.

As we took more of a business-like approach today, we did not take any photos. However, you can get an idea of the route from the gallery on UKClimbing.


One Response to Redemption on Smith’s Route

  1. Pingback: Recent Activity | Red Rock Adventures

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