From the Cairn Ban Archives... 

Ben Nevis - Orion Direct

Alex Haken, 3 March 2013

I managed to sneak a late winter 3-day weekend climbing with a friend who I met in the CIC hut last winter. 2 days in the Cairngorms and one day on Ben Nevis.

  • Invernookie grade III, Central Gully grade I, Ewen Buttress III, The Seam grade IV (Cairngorms).

  • Orion Direct grade V (Ben Nevis).


Saturday and Sunday were cold and fairly clear at times. Ice like plastic and felt really secure (if it ever really is?) A mere warm-up for the main event the next day...

On Monday we met up with Adam Hughes, one of the guides that we had climbed with last year on Ben Nevis. We intended to do Point Five gully but there were already teams in it when we got there.

Adam suggested Orion Direct. Nine pitches going at grade V. It felt every minute of it. Definitely the longest, steepest and best ice route that I have done so far. Belaying on snow bollards, half screwed-in ice screws and old rusty pitons. Scary stuff.

Can't wait to do it again.