Ken and Hannah making their way towards Flake Route

Ken and Hannah making their way towards Flake Route

I always had Bidean nam Bian down as a quiet crag with less interest than the more popular Stob Coire nan Lochan due to a slightly longer walk in. Today however, five teams converged on the crag; Ken and Hannah climbed Flake Route, Mike and his team followed myself and Dot up West Chimney and two other very strong teams were battling with new routes a little higher up the crag.

P1 West Chimney

P1 West Chimney

West Chimney was superb, really nice climbing on secure hooks and some excellent snow ice in places. The crux is now on the second pitch where the original route under a lodged boulder is now blocked with rock fall. You can climb direct giving a stiff but short section of tech 6 climbing. There has been talk of tech 7 for this pitch but although it is steep requiring some big moves it is over very quickly. We thought V,6 overall and certainly warrants all of its stars!

P2 West Chimney

P2 West Chimney

Dot - all smiles

Dot – all smiles

Mike and team below the crux

Mike and team below the crux

Flake Route and West Chimney share the same finish - Hannah on the top pitch

Flake Route and West Chimney share the same finish – Hannah on the top pitch

Mike & team awaiting patiently

Mike & team awaiting patiently

New routes were being climbed up and right of West Chimney, both looked very exciting. I look forward to reading about the news when it emerges……..

Greg and Uisdean's line looked superb