I don't generally discuss climbing, as i'm a climber with fairly poor ethics. Indeed, not only this but i can barely put an argument together, but i feel the need to comment on Anubis - perhaps it's time i changed my perspective on climbing.
Dave's come in for some flak as a result of this latest winter exploit, which you can read all about on DaveMac's blog or UKC. There is a fairly split population mainly at two extremes. There are the hero worshipping 'followers' who expect this E8 winter line to be Scottish XVI and then there's the 'this is not a winter route it's a drytool on the ben' brigade.
Rather un-interestingly i find myself agreeing with both sides and my opinion is as follows:
The route, viewed from photos taken on the day of the ascent clearly show it isn't in what many would suggest was winter nick, theres no hoar/rime and limited ice - but it's a mixed climb so your climbing on rock mainly anyway. Personally, rime/hoar is purely an aesthetic thing in my mind as although it adds to the experience of the climb and difficulty to a degree it has it's problems, such as the fact you have to strip it off the crag in order to climb it, which scratches the rock much more than if you could see you placements first time. I really don't think a crag has to be COVERED in rime to be in winter nick, though a black crag is a bit of a piss take in a winter sense.
Dave said there was Ice in the back of the crack and that he placed an ice hook - if true and i can't see him lying, then it's a winter ascent. People have said they don't believe that. Well fair enough to them, but ultimately he climbed the line in the middle of winter, in subzero-icy conditions, with a bit of ice and hooks. Mixed for my money.
I think my main opinion, is however if myself and Franco rocked up to Eagle Crag in Grisedale and boshed our way up Kestrel Wall, or indeed went up and tooled on the Ben - we'd be hunted down by these ravenous UK/UKC winter ethics police and made to answer for our crimes. Obviously DaveMac hasn't 'got away' with it, as such but he has the profile to shrug it off not a problem - similarly with Dave Birkett in the lakes this year. There was a bit of questioning with his classic rock climb but nothing like the level of pure hatred if a 'punter' had done it...
Indeed, a punter like me got a bit of flak as a result of climbing Chock Gully in 'very powdery' conditions. The conditions we climbed Chock Gully in was certainly wintery! The gully was full of powder, the ice below the chockstone was a bit poor but it was there and without it it would have been impossible to get to the 'stone. Tackling the stone itself was more 'drytoolie' as the crack on the left was iced but there was no lovely ice corner or chandelier as in the 70's and 80's.
My point being we raised a few eyebrows climbing that, so if we stuck a photo of us on some crag with bugger all hoar on the rock, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on - as they would have been ripped off and used as belays by the rabid anti mixed climbing brigade...
Summer routes in my opinion, are meant to be climbed in winter a matter or progression, provided they are good winter lines eg Engineer Slabs or Bowfell Buttress. Anubis, certainly looks the test-piece.
DaveMac, good work.
No one reads this blog, so it would be interesting if someone had an opinion to my ramblings...!