South Gill New Routes

In the spell of near perfect weather we had in May the South Gill saw its fair share of the action. A crag that’s fallen out of favour in recent years just because we’d been there so much, but it’s far from climbed out and there are some excellent lines to go still.

The club had their AGM weekend in Eshaness and the South Gill was the venue for a group meet with plenty of climbers out, many for the first time. A week later I returned to check out a few lines I’d spied that hadn’t been done. To date they’ve still only been climbed on a shunt so await a proper first ascent. They are both immediately to the right of Plunder, a classic Severe above the little pool.

Pillage HS 4b ** 15m. Start as for Plunder but climb the wall direct. (Almost as good as Plunder!)

Red Snapper HVS 4c 15m. Climb the roof to the right of Pillage, traversing in from the left and then the arete above. Suspect gear for the first half.

10 days later, next up was a pocketed wall that had been an obvious challenge for me since I first looked at it on an SPA training weekend in 2006. The wall looked pretty intimidating and was hard to judge the angle or the size of the pockets that covered it, or whether they took gear (there’s little else). On the ab down to the large platform it was clear that the angle was far less severe than I’d thought, probably only 4a climbing at the top.

I picked the line of least resistance first, right up the middle of the pocketed wall, and what a cracker it was. I still debate the grade, thinking it was more VS but I was outvoted by my 3 seconds!

2. Pinkpocket HVS 4c ** 30m. Starting just to the right of the pool climb the pocketed wall, moving rightwards around the roof. (Al Whitworth, Stu Barton, Mhairi Gervais, Andy Long 18 May 2012)

A week later I returned with Andrew Hunter and Aurore Mercier and we added a few new lines, both as good as Pinkpocket:

4. Reflection HVS 5a ** 30m. Climb the crack to the right of the niche, through the roof and wall above. (Andrew Hunter, Aurore Mercier, Al Whitworth 26/05/12)

5. Suntoucher VS 4c * 30m. From a small ledge next to the geo, climb the wall next to the arete, through the roof and the slab above. (Al Whitworth, Andrew Hunter, Aurore Mercier 26/05/12)

As you’ll guess from the route names, it was a stunning evening too. It seems the South Gill is back in fashion (briefly!)

Lines 1 and 3 on the topo above are yet to be climbed. Both look like good routes with 1 being possibly quite tricky – its far steeper than the others and ends in a roof.


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