Ruthven update

The ever popular Ruthven boulder in Strathnairn has seen some recent attention regarding development, and three new hard problems have been established in the passing late summer/early autumn.

Rhys Langlands has added the first “proper” 8A problem to the block with a first ascent of ‘QE Double D’ (as the Ivory Coast problems are more like sideways routes!). This problem starts for the first few moves of Ivory Coast (starting at the jugs of Razor’s Edge) then finishes up through the classic QED. This is made more impressive by being done at the end of the summer season as QED is notoriously condition dependent! Truly a new test piece for the boulder.

Still on this side of the boulder, Andy Emery has also added Lower Achilles 7C, which is essentially a direct version of Achilles Heel (Assis). This new problem follows Barry Manilower by reaching to a crimp in the bulge and then slaps for slopers on the lip to finish along Achilles Heel. Another one for good conditions! Climbed on a session foiled by heavy autumnal showers, the boulder just managed to dry enough to bag the ascent before dark. A good example of Ruthven’s rapid drying!

Andy has further been checking out Ruthven’s potential for quality linkups, and has established The Dude Abides 7B. Starting as for Shreddies SS, this problem blasts out left to reverse The Big Lebowski (hard match crux) and then finishes up The Dude in a tired state. A good varied problem, and quite interesting reversing the much traveled Big Lebowski.

Louise Beveridge at the end of the ramp of The Big Lebowski. The Dude Abides goes up into the big move of The Dude from this point, after having done the crux at the start and reversing the Lebowski ramp. Photo by Ted Collins

Travelling stamina monsters continue to turn up to Ruthven with a thirst for some sideways action. First up, in 2019, one of Darwen’s strongest exports Ian Vickers made a hugely impressive flash of Blair Fyffe’s Ebony Face Beyond Communication, with Gill Peet repeating the Very Very Big Lebowski, the 8a “practice traverse 2” of the Ebony Face, at the same time. At the end of August this year, astrophysical uberwad Stu Littlefair also repeated Ebony Face Beyond Communication, before going on to tick the nearby Camel.

Finally, a productive session with original developer (and Rhys’s dad!) Pete Langlands cleared up some of the slight confusion between lines of some of the lesser-travelled problems on the stane. These were quickly recleaned and repeated, so now there’s even more stuff to go at! Have fun up there…

Written by Ted Collins (minor additions Andy Emery), October 2021

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