Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ardvorlich Hidden Walls - Sport Climbs

The Climbing.

If you're looking for a F6a-6c venue to ease the radical jump between indoor and summer trad in the mountains, this is an excellent venue: sportingly bolted 15m technical walls that will improve your onsighting ability and work your head round to the idea of climbing above gear. The climbing is never desperate - all very steady crimps and pockets on two excellent sunny walls and the bolts come just when needed! Many combinations can be created by mixing the routes up a bit to allow a bit of traversing experience... the rock is excellent schist, if still a little dusty - a little more traffic will help. Usually gets a wee breeze to keep midges off - the bracken in summer makes approach more difficult.

Where are they?

GR 323 123 Landranger 56

Being only forty minutes from Glasgow, and ten minutes from the roadside, this is an idyllic sport venue on the west bank of Loch Lomond. A knoll behind Ardvorlich B&B hides twin west facing walls - this is a few miles north of the Inveruglas tourist spot on the Loch (by the Power Station). Park in a lochside layby on the right just before the signs for Ardvorlich BandB (if you miss it, you can turn here). Cross the road and jump the fence, head uphill to the landy track. Follow this left across the railway, then back right uphill. At the first swithcback you'll see the walls across the fields beyond the burn. Bash over here in about five minutes. There are four lower offs - take long slings to extend these over the edge if top-roping.

ROUTES:

Left Wall:
1. Carnage - 6c - The wee roof is butch: a bolted boulder problem which can be extended to a 7a by bouldering in along the break and boosting for the jugs at first bolt. Lower off third bolt or step onto next route!

2. That Sinking Feeling - 6b - excellent technical climbing up the left arete, step right, crux move to big layaways (careful belaying needed here), then jugs and clip, then truck to the top through good holds in the groove right of the wee roof.

3. The Groove - 6a - good climbing up the juggy central groove and pocketed headwall, veer left at top to mantel out.

4. Drifting from the Shore - 6b/6c - the bulge and headwall direct, the crux bulge can be worked by travelling right and back left once over. Good headwall crimping. FA Graham Harrison

5. Lake Lomond - 6a - right hand route - climb up behind saplings to a crux step left onto wall and follow the pale wall all the way to the top - one of the best lines here. Traversing left from the tree to finish up Drifting is worthy too. FA Colin Struthers

Right Wall:

6. Dilemma - 6a+ - The furthest left line crosses over the next route at about half-height. Pull on by quartz pocket (crux) and follow bolts to a thin section travelling up and right, then straight up to lower-off. Super climbing.

7. Snake Eyes - 6a - Pull through central roof and climb up and left to junction with Dilemma Step down and traverse left to bigger holds and follow quartz straight up to sapling, easy right to lower-off.

8. Magic Carpet Ride - 6b - The half-bolted, half-pegged right hand route through the steepening overlap near the top to the apex. You'll need your trad head for this one. Keep your nerve between bolts and pegs - the climbing is never desperate.

9. Abstinence VS - the far right crack, first climbed by Ross McRae

History: These walls were originally climbed trad up to about E3 by J. Watson, C. Lampton and G Foster. As they demanded crux peg placements and had generally poor gear, it became an accepted bolted venue. The left wall was bolted and climbed by Graham Harrison (Routes 3-5), the right wall mainly by John Watson, who also added a few more bolts and lines to the left wall, as well as ring-bolt lower offs . The grades may feel a grade harder to onsight.

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