Scotland has had one of its best years for hard winter climbing on icy rock and there’s been a flurry of new routes being climbed.
Matt Helliker, Pete Whittaker and Nick Bullock have climbed the new Dark Angel VIII, 8 up Church Door Buttress on Bidean nan Bian.
The crag has seen a number of ascents this year, mostly up Un Poco Loco VIII, 7. The crag has a number of steep cracks, some unclimbing and splitter.
Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson made the first ascent of Lost Arrow Winter Variation X, 10 in December up the wall. And a few weeks ago, Helliker and Whittaker made the second ascent of Church Door Angels VIII, 9.
Helliker and Whittaker noticed Dark Angle, a steep three-pitch line, on their preious visit and invited Bullock for the first ascent.
Helliker wrote on his blog, “Nick racked up and made short work of the bulging corners above in his typical drag the axe until it stops on something, no matter how shit, then pull and commit style.
“Climbing with Nick always makes me smile, apart from being out with one of my best mates, I always get inspired by his confidence on unpredictable placements with wiggy gear.
“Nick took an intermediate belay above and right of the top of the Arch, following a steep rightward trending line to a leftward facing hanging groove, then pulled through and followed a ramp left with some useable ice in to the top of the buttress just before dark.”
It's always inspiring to see someone good at what they do when you're just starting out! Matt has been a solid guide in my first 4 days of winter climbing. I feel like I've fully plunged straight in at the deep end, but I think thts good (as long as its safe) as it makes you learn quickly. It's cool to see Matt tinker his way up these delicate mixed pitches with ease, as then it shows me there is big room for improvement for me in this style of climbing. Its good to start from scratch and learn something new, as seeing progression in something is one of the funest parts of climbing (or anything really!) 📸 @matt_helliker on the crux pitch of Dark Angel. A new 3/4 pitch first ascent we did with Nick Bullock a week or so ago. @patagonia_climb @patagoniaeurope @fiveten_official @sterlingrope @wildcountry_official