Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Nirvana Wall, Aonach Dubh East Face

This afternoon, Jack and I set off towards the east face of Aonach Dubh to get a climb done in the cool of the evening. We decided to head towards the far eastern buttress, where a two-star Severe line caught our eye: Nirvana Wall.

Standing beneath the Wall, it appeared improbably steep and unfeasable at such a reasonable standard. However, it also looked exceptionally good. I led the first pitch, which was certainly sustained for a few moves on the initial steep wall, although the gear was good and the holds were positive. Most of the rest of the first pitch was easy after those first ten metres of Severe climbing.

Jack then led up the second pitch, a near-vertical crack running directly up the open face towards an overhanging roof. It was an awesome lead, just as technical as the first pitch but even more exposed. When seconding, I found the climbing on this top pitch simply magnificent. Taken overall it is probably one of the finest rock climbs I have ever done, right up there with Tall Pall at Sheigra in terms of quality.

UKC gives the route a grade of Hard Severe 4b. Not sure if I agree with this or not; it was sustained and exposed, but the gear was good and it didn't really feel 4b. Ultimately the route was so enjoyable I don't really care how difficult others think it was. It challenged me without being frightening, and provided an exhilarating climb.

Another excellent climb. Tomorrow we are heading up to the Buachaille to climb Agag's Groove.

Photo album from this evening

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