Monday, February 18, 2008

Purple Patches in Nevis and Aberdeen

Saturn Crack 7c (FA Dave MacLeod Feb 2008,)

I used to see Dave MacLeod all the time at Dumby, if I was out for an hour at this time of year, he'd be under some dark roof, beavering away at a new sequence on another new line. It was odd to be walking through the gorge at Glen Nevis last Friday, on my way to the remote Meanach bothy for a night with 5kg coal and some city-dissolving spirit when I spied Dave hunkering under a boulder in the gorge, tripod on the path to film another first ascent of a classic bouldering line! Claire was wrapped in duvet, busy being photographer and Dave had just climbed the oft-spied crack line on the large boulder blocking the top of the gorge by the Meadows. A superb-looking layback sequence on this smooth rock gains the blank scoop on the front face where the crack dies out, from here tenuous slopers and blind feet proved the crux above a landing of precariously-balanced pads. Dave thought it a superb Font 7c and one for the connoisseurs of European-style boulder problems. He named it 'Saturn Crack'.


Optimus Prime SS, Pic courtesy Neil Morrison

Meanwhile, in the north east, at Cammachmore, Tim Rankin upped the bar significantly by adding a sit start to his recent prow problem Optimus Prime, as well as adding a good technical line on the wall to the left of it. Tim says:

'Thought you would like to know I sent the sitting start to Optimus Prime today... I can only say it is a good bit harder than the standing and linking it once I could do all the moves proved a lot harder than I expected! What I would say though is it's the finest bouldering feature I have climbed anywhere in Scotland with quality climbing to match! I also did the SDS to the very high ball wall just left of it which I did the standing to the week before last. Megatron is bigger then Optimus Prime but not as hard and probably worth E5 without a spotter!'

Megatron V5 (6c+)
The undercut wall left of 'Optimus Prime ' started with right hand on arete and left on a high good crimp. Use good hidden crimp to gain obvious hand rail then edge of little hanging groove to gain the top, higher than it is hard an excellent problem. SDS V7 (7a+) as Optimus Prime but swing left around the arete to gain the standing start crimp.



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