Polish climber Wadim Jablonski on Central Grooves on Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glen Coe. Photo: Paul Ramsden

Polish climber Wadim Jablonski on Central Grooves on Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glen Coe. Photo: Paul Ramsden

Organisers of a revived winter climbing event hailed the meeting a success, with six entirely new routes completed.

Participants in the Streap Alba Geamhradh 2020 also took part in a mountain rescue after an avalanche on Ben Nevis.

The Climb Scotland Winter event attracted mountaineers from 22 countries, from Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, the Americas and South Korea, who came as guests of Mountaineering Scotland to pair up with UK climbers and sample the unique character of Scottish winter climbing.

One of the routes posted was among the hardest ever completed in Scotland.

Climbers tackled classic ice routes and hard, modern test pieces. Some of the 60-strong group even took part in a mountain rescue, when they witnessed an avalanche on Ben Nevis and abandoned their own climbs to give initial support and first aid to the victim until the mountain rescue team arrived for the evacuation.

Organisers had been worried that climbing conditions would be poor, with a relatively warm December and January, but in the week or so before the international guests arrived colder conditions blew in and plastered the cliffs and gullies with snow and ice.

After a week of climbing, sometimes in challenging weather, both guest and host climbers were unanimous in declaring the event a great success, with the guests, most of whom have experience of climbing in the Alps and greater ranges – enthusing about the whole challenge and experience of winter climbing in Scotland.

Stuart Younie, chief executive of Mountaineering Scotland, which represents climbers, mountaineers, hillwalkers and ski mountaineers north of the border, said “Mountaineering Scotland has been delighted to host this event in our 50th year, and to be able to welcome climbers from 22 different countries and all over the UK to enjoy some of the best winter climbing conditions Scotland has seen in many years.

Luca Celano and Carl Nystedt on Pot of Gold in Coire an t-Sneachda on Cairn Gorm. Photo Marc Langley

Luca Celano and Carl Nystedt on Pot of Gold in Coire an t-Sneachda on Cairn Gorm. Photo Marc Langley

“It’s been a great opportunity to showcase Scotland on an international stage and many of our international guests have been so enthused about the experience they are already talking about when they are going to come back. Thanks to our partner organisations and to all the volunteers who helped deliver such a fantastic event.”

Streap Alba Geamhradh 2020 was revived this year as part of the celebrations to mark Mountaineering Scotland’s 50th anniversary. It was supported by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, The Alpine Club, British Mountaineering Council and outdoors brand Salewa.

The visiting climbers were teamed up with UK climbers of similar ability and climbed in various mountain areas of Scotland, staying in climbing huts in the Cairngorms, Glen Coe and on Ben Nevis itself.

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