leading the wildly exposed third pitch of Prophecy of Drowning (E2 5b, 5a, 5c, 5a; 5.10d) on the Great Arch on Scotland’s Isle of Pabbay.
When Scottish climbers Kevin Howett and Graham Little set siege to this sensational sea arch back in 1996, they discovered what is possibly the finest route of its grade in the Outer Hebrides. The Lewisian gneiss encountered is top quality, but will do its damnedest to shred your rope as you embark on the terrifying 330- foot abseil approach. It doesn’t take long for the seriousness of the situation to sink in as you gaze up from a lonely ledge above the sea and realize the easiest escape route weighs in at E1 ( 5.10). Whilst none of the climbing is particularly hard on Prophecy, the steepness and exposure play on the mind, creating a sense of urgency. Fortunately, there is always gear at hand, which greatly diminishes the fear factor on the crux of the sensational finishing crack.