The Original Route.
The East Face.
The Original Route. E1 ***
This very popular route starts at the bottom of the broken pillar at the end of the walkway which joins the base of the stack to Hoy. Orkney climbing club re-equipped the belays and removed all the ancient tat and hardware from this route in June 2003. The abseil tat at the top of the second pitch is supposed to be slightly longer (lower) than normal to avoid the rope jamming crack below this belay.
Pitch 1 (20m): Climb to the top of the obvious broken pillar to a large tat covered ledge called "the Gallery". This pitch is V.DIFF climbing on poor rock, a good warm up and gear is plentiful.
Pitch 2 (30m) 5b: From the land ward end of the Gallery down-climb for a few meters on the east face to a smaller ledge and traverse right along this ledge to the foot of a large over-hanging chimney. Ascend this chimney passing roofs at 10 and 20 meters. The second roof being the crux of the whole climb. At the top of this pitch is a convenient triangular alcove to belay from. The small pillar and big flake to the left of this alcove make perfect anchors for gear. If you are climbing on 50 meter ropes you cannot abseil directly to the ground from this point on your descent. An abseil from here on this rope length will leave you hanging in open air at the end of your rope. A 50 meter rope must be left tied to the tat on "The Gallery" this is your descent rope. I'm told two 60 meter ropes will see you to the ground from this belay. HVS climbing on reasonable rock with an exposed move out of the chimney at the second roof.
Pitch 3 (45m) 4b: Round the corner to your left (facing the land) ascend the loose easy ledges to a large belay ledge. At the right hand end of this ledge ascend a few meters and traverse left to another ledge and ascend the dirty chimney in the corner, follow the ledges to the grassy ledge below the exit crack. This pitch is not easy to describe it is easy climbing with some steep scrambling on mud and is in general dirty and quite loose. Best advice is to climb whatever looks easiest and follow the trail of ancient fixed gear which is every where on this route.
Pitch 4 (20m) 4c: Ascend the open book corner on excellent rock with good holds and perfect gear to the dramatic usually windy summit. An excellent severe climb and a perfect final pitch.
Return to Old Man.