The Certainty of Tides – New E7 for Ferdia Earle

LOCHINVER CRAGS, Achmelvich Campsite Crags, Clean Cut:
The Certainty of Tides 18m E7. Ferdia Earle. 26 Jun 2021.
The beautiful blank corner to the right of Flawless has more holds than first appears, but the gear is mostly poor. Climb the slab left of the corner to a narrow ledge running across the wall at third-height. Step up into the corner, where bold stemming leads to a good foothold on the left wall. Get what small and shallow gear you can, before employing wizardry for the very technical crux finish. Headpointed. As far as we know, the hardest trad first ascent by a woman in the UK. With the insecure nature of the moves and the marginal gear, some of which is off to the side, we thought that for an on-sight ascent this may be soft E8.

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Exciting New Route on Church Door Buttress

BIDEAN NAM BIAN, Church Door Buttress
People Pass But Ideas Don’t Die 90m E2 5c **. Bede West, James Stops. 25 Jul 2021.
An exciting line with an outrageous third pitch with the first two pitches avoiding the looser (in summer) blocks of its neighbouring winter routes. Start at the easy crack immediately right of Crypt Route.
1. 25m 5b Follow the easy crack to where it joins the crack of Angels and follow this to the break. Traverse this left to a thinner hanging crack just right of the arete and follow this until just below a ledge to belay on small wires.
2. 15m 5c Step right past the arete into the crack round the corner follow this to it’s top then traverse up left to the ledge and belay of Crypt Route.
3. 15m 5a Intimidating but easier than the last pitch, start up the next pitch of Crypt Route but step right onto the wall of the huge leaning block making delicate progress by pulling and overhanging chimneying up the keyed-in blocks to exit into the light at the top of the gap, belay (large thread) here.
4. 35m 5a From the belay head up the arete and crack that leads into a leftwards trending groove (as for Knights Templar) until it is possible to head right to a ledge by delicate moves. Traverse this under a triangular overhang, to head up the groove on the right. Follow this line (joining Critical Mass) to the top

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Young Hearts Running Free on Beinn Bhuird

BEINN A’ BHUIRD, Garbh Coire, The Flume Area:
Young Hearts Run Free 75m E4 **. Tim Miller, Callum Johnson. 15 Jul 2021.
Climbs the upper and wider of the two leftwards diagonal cracks across a distinctive half dome-shaped buttress on the far left of the Flume Area.
1. 45m Broken ground on the far right side of the lower slabs brings you to a large grassy bay at the bottom of the ‘half dome’ wall.
2. 30m 6a Climb the initial wide crack past some blocks to a good ledge. Technical moves gain the crack passing a big flake on the right at mid height to finish out and left. Well protected. Scramble up easy ground.

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New E4 on Sgurr Sgumain in Skye

Iris 40m E4 5c ***. Tim Miller. 2 Jul 2021.
This brilliant and sustained route climbs the steep wall above Loch Lagan, by linking together corner and crack features. Unfortunately it suffers from seepage, but can still be climbable when mostly dry. Start at a big wobbly block. Climb a technical wall until it is possible to swing left into the right of the two left facing corners. Climb the corner and wall above then follow a wide crack going up to the left. At the end of this move back right across a wet patch to follow another leftwards trending crack that leads to the base of the hanging corner at the top centre of the wall. Climb this to easier ground up and right.

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New Route on Dubh Loch

CREAG AN DUBH LOCH, Broad Terrace Wall:
The Vulture 135m E2 *. Michael Barnard, Alan Hill. 6 Jun 2021.
Good climbing between The Crow and Falkenhorst. Take plenty of small wires and cams.
1. 35m 5b Follow Falkenhorst to the base of the short overhanging groove. Step left slightly and go up a short left-facing groove, then take the obvious handrail left across the slab to below a fine twin crack-line. Climb this to a ledge with a big block.
2. 15m 5c Continue another few metres to another ledge. From here, step down right to climb a right-slanting diagonal handrail which goes across immediately above the big blank slab (bold) to gain a good ledge and big flake. Walk right 3m to belay below a cracked groove.
3. 25m 5c Start up the cracked groove and make tricky bold moves to gain a ledge on the crest (as for Falkenhorst pitch 2). Continue up the cracked groove (often wet) to its top. Above is a short bulging groove. Step out right and climb the edge (steep but on good holds) to a ledge and big block.
4 and 5. 60m 5a Stand on the block, go up to climb a steep flake-crack and continue to a ledge. Move right and continue more easily via shorter walls and ledges.

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SMCJ 2020 New Routes Now Online

The New Routes section from the 2020 SMC Journal is now available on the New Routes page. The associated topos are on the Topos page.

Thank you to everyone who sent in new route descriptions.

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Crag Photos for Scottish Winter Climbs West

Neil Adams is hard at work finalising the SMC’s next winter climbing guidebook – Scottish Winter Climbs West. He is looking for the following winter crag photographs. If you think you can help please contact Neil via

The Cobbler, South Face of the North Peak
Kinglas Crag, Beinn an Lochain.
Beinn a’ Chreachain
Beinn Udlaidh, Right side
The Buachaille, Chasm to Lady’s Gully
The Buachaille, Central & D Gully Buttresses
The Buachaille, Rannoch Wall
The Buachaille, Crowberry Ridge North Face
Right-hand side of Church Door Buttress
Sgurr na h-Ulaidh
Stob Coire an Laoigh
Ben Nevis, Little Brenva Face
Ben Nevis, Coire na Ciste – Sioux Wall to Winter Chimney
Ben Nevis, South Trident Buttress
Druim Shionnach West Face

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