Steall Falls – 5th Jan 2010

On a climbing trip I was recently lucky enough to climb the Steall Waterfall in Glen Nevis.  I’m rather lacking in photos of the route and me climbing on it sadly, but I do have a couple.  After the previous three days of climbing I was pretty tired so the short walk in along the side of the River Nevis was just the ticket.  At my first glimpse of the climb my comments were along the line of ‘I guess we’re not climbing that as it’s still running in the middle’.  I guess we all start somewhere.  I’ve read that many climbs often don’t freeze in the middle, but as always there’s a big difference between reading and seeing.

Steall Waterfalls

When we actually got to the base of the climb after walking over the frozen river (we missed out the wire bridge) it became obvious that the ice was in good condition and that whilst the water was flowing and there were other teams climbing there should be plenty of space for all of us.  We geared up and waited for the faster of the two teams ahead of us to finish.  When they’d finished Alec lead off and being the consumate pro he is in no time at all we heard the call of ‘safe’.  Shortly after that it was time for Martin to start off and I followed shortly after.  My previous winter climbing experience was limited to the three previous days, so I was a bit nervous especially after my failure on Squaddie’s climb the previous day.  However the start was fairly easy and once I’d got going there were a few decent rests on the first pitch.

Matt on Steall Falls

The second pitch was even longer than the first, Alec using most of the 60m of rope.  As a result I experienced my first ‘full body pump’, my arms were burning, my calves were burning and everything else was pretty battered, but I got up it.  And even worse I enjoyed it!  The final pitch was much shorter and the angle slacked off quite a bit.  Finally we topped out.  A quick abseil down the side onto easier ground and we were off and back down to Fort William by 3pm.  A great day out.  Many thanks to Alec of Guided Mountain for being an excellent instructor and Martin for being a good sport.

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