Having a low key weekend as I can wait for the weather and winds to go and had a look at some of my old photos of Ben Nevis, so many great days, maybe this year? I have so many old guide books many battered and worn but what days they have seen? Any views on what is the best Ben Nevis Guide Book?
The photo above is from the RAF Kinloss MRT archives and must be one of the earliest photos of avalanche probing in Scotland. The avalanche probes were made in the RAF workshops out of gas tubing. We live in different days!
|RAF Kinloss Call – outs 36-3/53||2-7/04/53||Ben Nevis
South Castle Gully
|Six-day search for two avalanched climbers. They left kit in CIC hut and not returned. Team climbed N&S Castle, 2, 3 & 4 gullies. Casualties found when snow melted below N&S Castle gullies. 2 Fatal.|
The Castles area of Ben Nevis was a fairly bad area for avalanches in the past and the old Winter Guide used to tell and advise you of these dangers. It is still very worth looking at this information as Ben Nevis opens up to new routes in neglected areas of this great mountain that many have rarely visited?
The 1954 SMC Ben Nevis Climbers Guide by Graham Macphee is only just over 151 pages and is a joy to read and well worth getting hold of. What a work that must have been in the days of no technology!
The Mountain has had so many guide books about the climbing and mountaineering, I must have bought the lot and many are battered but still loved in my wee library. I always dated the climbs who I climbed with and later years add the odd note! I was criticised for doing it at the time but as the memory fades it makes great reading!
1973 – Tower Ridge after a fatal call -out wet and slippy John Hinde and Bugsy scary and eye opening after a early start 0500 for the call – out.
1974 – Aug – The Douglas Boulder and Tower Ridge with P, Burns a long day.
1976 – Tower Ridge with Pete Mc Gowan and Tom Mac – had a Congo at the gap off at midnight, then call -out!
1976 – winter Course – Bob Run, 3 gully, 5 gully, Ledge route , moonlight gully and long walk outs every day very tired. Up and sown 4 gully a few times and a good look at the Ben in winter, plus acouple of call -outs
1977 – Winter Course various 2 gully, North East Buttress, 3 Gully Buttress, Castle Ridge, La Petite. Failed on Nordwand left 3 pegs!
1977 – Cresta – classic route limited belays, Pete Mc Gowan.
1978 – Waterfall Gully – steep first pitch and long way up to the top.
1979 – Green Gully , Comb and Glovers Chimney/ Tower Ridge – with Jock great two days on Ben Nevis.
1983 – Christmas day another wee epic on Tower Ridge dark at 1530 – got back for the meal just. deep snow.
1985 – The Curtain – after Canada Pete Kay great conditions – 5 gully avalanche! Very quick climb with Pete.
1986 – Zero Gully/ Hadrians Wall – few belays terrified! M. Sinclair.
So many routes, so much fun.
An esoteric gem by the late Godefroy Perroux. A French guide who loved Ben Nevis. great pictures and this is an excellent guide to Scotland’s finest winter climbing venue, using French grading.
Later on I was very lucky to climb many of the Ben’s winter routes with better gear and so many talented climbers. Yet these early days on this mountain were special with a few bits of gear and such a big mountain. So many more over the years, most years up to 2005 in at the CIC but what memories. I must get back soon!