Winter wonderland: BMC International Meet 2014 report

Posted by Nick Colton on 01/02/2014
Olov Isaksson on Slenderhead (Stob Coire Nan Lochan). Photo: Ian Parnell

The BMC Winter International Meet took place at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. 44 international guests from 26 countries teamed up with a similar number of UK hosts to experience Scottish winter action.

Guests included people from Finland, Poland, Japan, Croatia, South Africa, Czech Republic, USA, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Mongolia, Norway, Serbia, Canada, Slovakia, Israel, Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Latvia, Italy, New Zealand, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, and Sweden. 

For many of the International guests this was the first time they have been to the UK and the first time they have done Scottish winter climbing.

Each day, international guests are teamed up with our UK hosts and they go out on the hill. Together they climb, and experience the delights of a full Scottish winter adventure.

The common misconception is that these Meets are only for elite climbers. Yet this is not the case. It 's true that everyone is super keen and manages to do lots of climbs. But these are of varying lengths and spread right throughout the grades from great classics like Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis to cutting edge new routes and repeats.

At the start of the week the weather was really quite mixed with high winds and many red avalanche forecasts; but using, and sharing, their knowledge and judgement everyone went out on the hill and succeeded on some brilliant routes. All in all, it was a week of amazing climbing.

The sheer number of climbs done, and places visited was extremely impressive:

Northern Cairngorms
Anvil Gully, Anvil Corner, Cutty Sark, The Seam, Short Circuit, Invernookie, Original Summer Route, North Gully, Arch Enemy, Chimney Rib, Flaked Out, Patey's Route, Original Route, Belhaven, Burning and Looting, Auricle

Ben Nevis
Tower Ridge, Right-Hand Chimney, Heidbanger (2nd ascent by Greg Boswell & Mirko Breckner), Gallifrey Groove (2nd ascent), Militant Chimney, SW Ridge Douglas Boulder

Glen Coe
Scabbard Chimney, Chimney Route, Unicorn, East Face Direct-Direct, Central Buttress via Starting Blocks Start (2nd and 3rd ascents), Raeburn's Route, Para Andy, Slenderhead (2nd & 3rd ascents), Inclination, Unicorn, Chimney Route, Tilt, Spectre, Moonshadow, SC Gully

Applecross
March Hare's Gully, Realisation (2nd ascent), Genesis (3rd ascent), The Godfather (4th ascent), Great Overhanging Gully, Gully of the Gods, A'Poite Ridge, Cobalt Buttress, The Blue Lampost (2nd ascent), Rattlesnake

Beinn Eighe
West Buttress, East Buttress, Fuselage Chimney, Meal Gorm, Blood Sweat and Frozen Tears, Direct start to West Buttress, West Buttress Directissima, Sundance (3 ascents!), Kami Kaze, Shang High, Hydroconicum (3rd ascent)

Liathach
George, Poacher's Fall, Headless Gully

Fuar Tholl
Right-End Buttress

Creag Meaghaidh
Staghorn Gully, Extasy (3rd ascent), East Ridge Beinn a'Chaorochain

Western Highlands
Lemon Groove, Curate's Egg, Macavity

First ascents done this week (27th January to 1st February)
Beinn Eighe, Making the Cut (VIII,8), Nick Bullock, Jon Walsh (Canada) and Greg Boswell. A major new line taking the soaring crack-line left of West Central Gully.

Beinn Eighe, Crazy Eyes (VII,9),Will Sim and Olov Isaksson (Sweden). A very strong line taking the left-facing corner, roof crack and offwidth corner above Hydroponicum. (Name is a tribute to Magnus Kastengren who represented Sweden at the last International Meet).

Meall Gorm, Cobalt Buttress Direct Start (IV,4), Gwilym Lynn and Felix Sattelberger (Germany). A two-pitch direct route through the lower tier.

Ben Nevis, East Ridge, Douglas Boulder (IV,5), Rose Pearson (NZ) and Simon Richardson. Approximates to the summer line and a good route for a stormy day.

Ben Nevis, Alaska Highway (IV,4), Simon Richardson and Stefan Jacobsen (Denmark). The crest of the buttress right of Lower East Wall Route.

Ben Nevis, Unwound (VI,6), Dave Almond and Gustav Mellgren (Sweden). A direct finish to Sidewinder on South Trident Buttress.

Ben Nevis, 1944 Route (VI,7), Ian Bryant and Pawel Wojdyga (Poland). All pitches climbed before but probably the first complete winter ascent.

Ben Nevis, Nutless Arete Variation (VI,6), Neil Silver and Kenshi Imai (Japan). A direct finish up the edge right of the final groove.

Glen Finnan, Roly Poly Finish (III,4), Simon Richardson and Rose Pearson (NZ). A prominent line of weakness up the central buttress (lower section climbed before).

Cairn Gorm, seven new routes on Creag na h-Iolaire from II to IV,5 by Rose Pearson (NZ), Ricardo Guerra (Portugal), Radoslav Savov (Bulgaria), Micha Yaniv (Israel), Tuvshintur Ragchaa (Mongolia), Battulga Damiran (Mongolia), Undarmaa Badrakh (Mongolia), Stepan Ptacek (Czech Republic), Simon Yearsley, Andy Nisbet, Paul Mckenzie and Simon Richardson.

Photo: Neil MacKay

Challenging winter conditions    Photo: Neil MacKay

The evenings were also busy with excellent presentations from Simon Richardson (UK), Simon Yearsley (UK), Bill McConachie (USA), Nick Bullock (UK), Jon Walsh (Canada), Ian Parnell (UK) and Olov Isaksson (Sweden).

The BMC wishes to thank all the UK hosts, all the international guests,and Glenmore Lodge making the event such a great success.

The BMC International Meet was organised by Becky McGovern (BMC) who was joined at the event by Nick Colton (BMC).

Event information on Twitter hash tag #BMCim

WATCH BMC TV: 2014 BMC WINTER INTERNATIONAL MEET TEASER

Watch this and many more films on BMC TV.

Check out the blogs of some of the climbers who attended:

BMC International Meets explained


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