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Centurion (on the Ben) - have you done it ....and is it worth doing?

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I've been climbing for about 40 ish years and am now about to enter into my 60th year..., I've always had a desire to do Centurion on Caern Dearg on the Ben but never done it  ... so ..is it worth all the hype ... it looks a fabulous line.

thanks all #

Keith

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Yes

 John Lyall 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey: A great route and well worth doing. Even better is Torro if that is within your grade.

 abbeywall 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

best HVS multi pitch I have done  i think on the basis that every pitch is good and different

 LJKing 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

I did it last June after waiting 30 years. To say it is absolutely fantastic is an understatement. Pitches 2 and 6 are amazing. I am desperate to do Torro. Get on it as soon as you can!

 Exile 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Done it - yes.

Awesome - yes.

 jiminy483 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

We did it in spring and the crux was wet and greasy, we both had to aid it. Then it rained for the last few pitches. One for fine weather I'd say but a great route.

1
 olddirtydoggy 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Mate of mine did it this year and we couldn't shut him up. He did say the route on the second half was weeping damp a bit which added to the fun.

 Fiona Reid 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Yes, absolutely worth the hype. It's an outstanding route and every pitch is very good and different. There are no filler bits.

Pitches 2 and 6 are just brilliant. Aside from Dream of White Horses which is totally different no other multi pitch I've done has come close in terms of quality, engagement and pure fun. 

I believe the corner pitch (pitch 2) can be damp but when I lead it it was bone dry and just brilliant climbing.  Never silly hard but made me think. 

I'd very very happily do it again but my other half is intent on scaring me witless on Bullroar instead.  

Post edited at 22:40
In reply to Fiona Reid:

Brilliant Fiona … Dream is my favourite route to date  .. so you’ve sold it to me …. Centurion it is next spring … many thanks 👍👍👏

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

I've done the first two pitches, the second pitch was wet when I started it and a waterfall when I finished it (somehow without coming off...!). It was so amazingly good that I have to go back and do the whole thing. 

 LJKing 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Although its well protedted Centurion is much harder than Dream of WHs IMO. I didn't think it was that much different from something like the Grooves in the Pass. Having said that it was virtually my first climb after the lock down.

 GrahamD 06 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Great route.

 Fiona Reid 06 Nov 2022
In reply to LJKing:

It's a totally different type of climbing though. 

Dream is all about the exposure and situation. Falling off for either leader or second is a very bad idea but the climbing is relatively easy so hopefully that's unlikely to happen. I really regretted not leading pitch 3 as seconding it was very intimidating. You're on monster jugs but as the second you're taking the gear out and thus facing a much bigger swing than the leader. 

Centurion is a proper HVS with plenty 5a moves but it's decently protected and never scary bold. There's a small amount of traversing but nothing major, mostly you're going upwards. 

 Misha 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Well worth doing, especially early morning when it will be in the sun - plus you’ll have time for another route! I thought the middle section was fairly average but the first two pitches and the top crux are great and adding in the middle section makes for a proper long mountain route. The descent is pretty quick though.

Recommend doing it later in the summer when the snow is gone from. No 5 (we did it in a heatwave in late July last year). Also if you’re comfortable at the grade such that you don’t need to lace it, you can do it on a single rope with a decent number of extenders, as it’s mostly straight up.

We did Centurion, The Bat, Torro and King Kong over two days. I thought Torro was the best route but they were all very good. 

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Took me 40 years to get it done as well! Worth the wait. Exit pitch is a masterpiece of route finding. 

In reply to Grinning Donkey: It’s great  I’ve climbed it quite a few times including guiding it on a showery day and it never disappoints.  Can even get a queue on a busy day! (Mainly due to King Kong and The Bat sharing the start)

get on it!

 Moacs 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Yes

yes

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Just entered my 50th year and nowhere near in condition to try it.  Very encouraging to think I have time to get into top shape and give it a go.  Looks like one of the great English routes.

David

15
 jcw 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

My retirement weekend in 1997 with Simon Richardson was one of my best ever, Flew up to Aberdeen and next morning we got up early and drove to Glencoe where we met up with  the Everetts. It was a brilliant day and drying out so  chose south facing Weeping Wall and did Solitude (E3 5b) followed by a romp up Quietude (HVS 5a). Sunday we went up to Slime Wall which, as its name suggests, needs to dry out. Simon decided Bludgeons–Revelation (HVS) though wet would go and it did. Brilliant climbing after the first wet crack. Back in the Valley at 7pm Simon insisted we went up as planned to the Ben and do Bat. I got sulky but finally deferred getting to the hut at 10.30!  Next morning the weather was very dubiousn; and the forecast not brilliant. So we opted for Centurion instead. It was cold and two or three times it started to drizzle, but it held off. A brilliant route, 7 pitches. Wore everything, and I got hot burns at the end of pitch 1. Better on the brilliant pitch 2 which gets ever steeper, but always just with a hold when it feels desperate. Whilst it then traverses onto easier ground for a while it never becomes negligible and the pitch through the roof is quite brilliant and surprisingly easy. The final pitch is old-fashionedly excellent too, scrambling onto bits of pinnacles. Back at our sacks at 2.30 another pair decided to start up.And so back to Aberdeen through the most beautiful scenery and my flight next morning. The Bat might have been a better tick but Centurion remains unforgettable A fantastic weekend thanks to Simon's determination and patience with a 63 yr old

In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> Just entered my 50th year and nowhere near in condition to try it.  Very encouraging to think I have time to get into top shape and give it a go.  Looks like one of the great English routes.

You might need to get your geography into better shape too!

2
 peppermill 07 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

If you've not done "Hammer" on the Etive Slabs then this would make an outstanding route to do on the way home ( assuming you're driving back to the Central Belt or south of the wall) after ticking a dream route on The Ben.

In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> Just entered my 50th year and nowhere near in condition to try it.  Very encouraging to think I have time to get into top shape and give it a go.  Looks like one of the great English routes.

Ah, do you mean that the FA was by Englishmen? Would be odd in the context of within the UK, but not without precedent generally.

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Yes

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

>... is it worth all the hype ... it looks a fabulous line.

Absolutely! TR here is you want some more inspiration: https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2021/07/21/centurion-the-ben/

Enjoy! Cheers, Dom 

 John Workman 08 Nov 2022
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I would say that to refer to Centurion as an 'English' route would be considered as a racist comment by those of us living north of the border [and possibly south of the border also]

7
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Ah, do you mean that the FA was by Englishmen? Would be odd in the context of within the UK, but not without precedent generally.

It was my gentle wind-up.  A stunning Scottish crag in an amazing setting.  The closest I've come to it is a wet scramble up 'Ledge Route' on a damp August day.

In reply to John Workman:

> I would say that to refer to Centurion as an 'English' route would be considered as a racist comment by those of us living north of the border [and possibly south of the border also]

>

I was thinking of the first ascent and so was my gentle wind-up.  And Haston and Smith quickly re-established Scottish bragging rights with 'The Bat' - right between Centurion and Sassenach - which however good a shape I get in and whoever I had trying to drag me up, I don't think I'd get close to!

 65 08 Nov 2022
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Many moons ago someone tried a similar windup by suggesting that we Scots were aggrieved that Sassenach, at its time the hardest route on The Ben, was put up by two Englishmen. The late Norrie Muir pointed out that most of the best routes of that era on the Ben and elsewhere were put up by Smith, Marshall and Haston, "...who were from Edinburgh, which is even worse."   

 Michael Gordon 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

It's got to be a strong contender for best route of its grade in the country!

1
 Gary Latter 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> It's got to be a strong contender for best route of its grade in the country!

Or perhaps Bludger's Revelation on the Buachaille?

I've climbed both of them a few times, both amazing routes. The penultimate pitch on Centurion is a masterpiece of route finding. Certainly an audacious piece of climbing with the gear available in the fifties.

Post edited at 09:29
 kevin stephens 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

It's in my top 3 alongside Right Wall and The Axe over 40+ years of climbing

 Exile 11 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

Any route that could have the route description -

'Walk up to the cliffs on the north side of the highest mountain in Britain, spot the most obvious feature on the most obvious crag and climb it'

has got to be an uber classic!  

 Michael Gordon 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Gary Latter:

Yes, it's maybe personal preference. Certainly the flake pitch on Revelation is glorious. I thought Centurion better when taking into account line and length.

Post edited at 15:51
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yes, I think Centurion is finer. But it has been 39 years!

 Fergal 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Grinning Donkey:

Did Centurion in the Late eighties with John Main, famous for his night time winter solos on the Ben after work, he was pretty bold, was flabbergasted when one day he told me he had just been up and soloed it, impressive considering his top rock climbing grade was about E2, a good insight into how bold he actually was in winter.

 Pina 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I'd agree with that. For exposure, I think Bludgers wins. For quality of climbing throughout, Centurion. 

In reply to Grinning Donkey:

A properly brilliant route up the middle of the best cliff in Britain, the rock on the buttress alone is worth the visit. The only draw back being that you can escape right on Route II before the best pitch, but I don’t know why anyone would. 

As a few other have said, and if it’s within your grade range, Torro is still one of the best mountain rock climbs there around.

All said, it’s still a mountain environment and as such there’s loose rock and some grass/moisture around parts of the route. I think many southern visitors are often surprised that the routes held in high regard are a bit green and loose at times and expect something different? 

1
In reply to Fergal:

> Did Centurion in the Late eighties with John Main, famous for his night time winter solos on the Ben after work, he was pretty bold, was flabbergasted when one day he told me he had just been up and soloed it, impressive considering his top rock climbing grade was about E2. 

I soloed it when I was 19 in 1983. I'd only done a handful of E1's at the time, but I had done the route leading through a few weeks before. I think my logic was that because I had not fallen off roped, there was no reason why I would fall off soloing. Looking back now that sort of stuff makes me feel slightly nauseous. The memorable bit was definitely the upper crux. Soloing Long Climb onsight next day probably felt more demanding overall. 

 Fergal 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

Interesting that you found it demanding, I soloed The long climb on sight in 1995, didn't really know anything about it in summer,  it just felt pleasantly straightforward, although my judgement may be skewed by the fact, i had soloed the Orion face numerous times in winter with all the vagaries of thin conditions and bad weather thrown in.   

Post edited at 00:00
In reply to Gary Latter:

> The penultimate pitch on Centurion is a masterpiece of route finding. 

... Or maybe not - I arrived at the stance before the penultimate pitch to find a climbing "Marie Celeste" scene - three abandoned wires and a discarded rope. Turns out the team before us couldn't figure out the exit so called out a helicopter instead! 

In reply to Fergal:

> Interesting that you found it demanding, I soloed The long climb on sight in 1995, didn't really know anything about it in summer,  it just felt pleasantly straightforward, although my judgement may be skewed by the fact, i had soloed the Orion face numerous times in winter with all the vagaries of thin conditions and bad weather thrown in.   

I'd never been on the face before ended up just wandering up following my nose, hoping it would be ok. The bergschrund was fun too. Not technically hard.

1
 Tony De Luca 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

That is without doubt the most impressive/insane teenage climbing story I've heard....... 

In reply to Tony De Luca:

> That is without doubt the most impressive/insane teenage climbing story I've heard....... 

Not insane; it was completely controlled. Just confidence of youth in ability now lost.


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