Steve Ashworth and Paddy Cave have climbed a new route on Number Three Gully Buttress on Ben Nevis. Apache (VIII 9, 100m) starts up Thompson’s Route before branching out left onto a ‘blank, gently overhanging wall to gain a steep crack’.
The pair climbed the route on the 13th November despite less than ideal conditions with spindrift and stormy weather throughout the day. Ashworth is no stranger to hard winter first ascents with The Secret (X 10, 70m), The Sorcerer (VII 8, 140m) and Knuckleduster (VIII 9, 120m) all to his name. Paddy Cave led the second, crux pitch of Apache.
With such a great first ascent so early in the season hopes are high for a winter as good or better than last year.
The Epicentre Blog:
Ben Nevis put up a pretty good fight through the weekend. A highly motivated team from the lakes headed north on Friday night. Heavy overnight snowfall and persistant snow throughout the day on Saturday combined with a gusty wind provided challenging climbing conditions. After a taste of winter in the Lakes last week it was good to be in the teeth of some full on winter conditions. 2 out of 4 teams climbing on Saturday bailed due to hardcore spindrift. One team made short work of Cornucopia whilst Steve climbing with Paddy Cave climbed a new line on the impressive looking wall to the right of Sioux Wall. The barrel shaped wall is split by a straight crack line which had caught Steve’s attention on a previous trip. In the wild conditions Paddy pulled of a great lead on the gently overhanging crux pitch. The new route has been named Apache and is thought to be VIII 9 with a harder and slightly more sustained crux pitch than neighbouring Sioux wall.
For the full story and photos of the weekend involving Apache, avalanches and broken ice tools visit