Play time. Central Route 30th May
Summer has been slow to arrive but the past 2 days have been fantastic. Having a day off from guiding it was too good an opportunity to miss. Iain is gathering multipitch climbs for his MIA logbook and was more than keen despite doing the Ridge 2 days ago and warming down on Pinnacle Ridge yesterday.
Iain admiring our target.
I’d never climbed on South Buttress so it was time to test out how accurately I’d written the descriptions for the guidebook. The obvious line of Central Route gets a 2 star recommendation and was very worthy indeed.
Pitch 1 is the crux pitch with a 5a technical grade; quite intimidating so early in the season I have to admit!The rock was solid and holds positive straight off the ground. Things soon got steep with a thin finger crack giving both protection and holds while the feet smeared happily on the beautiful rough rock.
The steepest bulge showed signs of retreat but this was bypassed by a couple of delightful moves out right which then gave a puzzliing dilemma of whether to return to the crack or link a series of positive edges up the wall above. The crack option won and led to a luxury sunbathing spot to belay. This pitch was 45m not 20m as the guidebook says.
Iain led a long pitch above (4b)by a series of walls, slabs and chimneys to a shady belay at the foot of the prominent straight finishing chimney. This was every bit as good as it looks in the pictures with just enough holds and protection but not too easy.
As a warning to others it should be said that there is a lot of loose debris immediately above the chimney; caution should be exercised but didn’t cause us any problems.
We unroped and enjoyed a final 50m of scrambling (30m in the guidebook) before a small terrace led left to the waterworn slabs of the descent route. These proved to be so clean & delightful that it really added to the quality of the outing; probably a climbing first for me! One final bonus was that this cool shady line brought us back out right to where we had left the rucksack!