The Secret IX/9 – Repeated

by Ian Parnell On 30th December Ian Parnell, Guy Robertson and Mark Garthwaite completed the second ascent of The Secret, Andy Turner´s new route on the right wall of Number Three Gully, Ben Nevis. Both ascents were done onsight. See original report hereBelow Ian Parnell reports and speculates on a possible grade: “We picked the right day, walking up from the visitors centre and getting a fantastic sunrise just before dropping down number 3 gully. The route was well hoared/snowed up with a bit but not too much ice in the crack. Garth led the first pitch which is stunning steep hooking and bridging up wide cracks in a chimney, we felt this pitch was VII 7. I then led the second pitch, managing to span in from the belay (which is high up left) and so probably missed a move that Andy would have made on the first ascent (he down climbed and accessed the crack direct I think.) The next 15ft were the crux, with an unhelpful icy crack and very very thin hooks. I also had two flakes pull off on me which came close to ruining my onsight. Luckily I held it together and the rest of the route had better hooks with a superb pumpy finish. We had a bit of a debate about what grade we thought this pitch was… my feeling is that its IX 9. I´ve spoken to Andy Turner, and he goes with that as it was what he initially thought. More importantly the route is superb, a stunning line, that is in condition often and I think will prove a popular challenge. In my opinion its amongst the very best short routes I´ve done in Scotland.”