Tributes have been paid to a pioneering Scots climber known as ‘The King of the Ben’ following his death.

Jimmy Marshall, who was in his nineties, was “inextricably linked” to the development of cutting-edge climbing in Scotland from the 1950s and 60s.

The Edinburgh-born climber, joined by Robin Smith, is said to have advanced Scottish winter mountaineering by around a decade after the pair spent a week on Ben Nevis in 1960.

Staying in the Charles Inglis Clark (CIC) Memorial hut, on consecutive days the two men made six difficult, landmark winter ascents using rudimentary equipment.

They also repeated Point Five Gully in seven hours, a route that had only been climbed once before the previous year by a team led by the English climber Ian Clough which took more than 40 hours over six days.

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Colin Wells, author of “Who’s Who of British Climbing” said it was an Olympic record, “that would never be beaten.”

The pair are said to have interrupted their week with a single rest day involving descent to Fort William, a pub crawl and temporary arrest by the local constabulary over an incident with some dominoes.

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Their final day was to be one of the finest of their climbing careers with the ascent of Orion Direct, a climb considered so advanced that Scottish winter mountaineering had to wait a decade before changes in technique and equipment permitted a repeat.

Their achievements are celebrated in the film, ‘The Pinnacle’ (2010).

Mr Marshall, who was an architect by trade and also earned the nickname 'The Maistear', wanted to prove that Scottish climbers were as good as, if not better than, any in the world

He mentored the new wave of climbers and was also behind the post-war resurgence of the “fusty and middle-class” Scottish Mountaineering Club.

He also encouraged a lot of young men coming out of the Glasgow shipyards to get into climbing.

He was said to be hugely proud of the honourary membership he received for the Craig Dhu Mountaineer Club, launched by Clydeside workers in the 1930s and 40s.

“They would escape the city and get out into the mountains,” says Dave Macleod, who contributed to a film about the climber to coincide with his award for Excellence in Mountain Culture, presented in 2010 by the Fort William Mountain Festival.

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“That is what climbing is about for a lot of people,” he added.

Close to retirement age he returned to Glen Coe to climb Buachaille Etive Mor for the TV series The Edge: 100 years of Scottish Mountaineering and “floated up the route” according to mountaineer and author Cameron McNeish.

Mr Marshall said at the time: “We were obsessive about our climbing, bloody

crazy, you know.

“All you could think about from one weekend to the next was what you would get at when you got onto the Glen.

“It was a terrifically exciting place and of course there was a great history attached to it so could follow the history of the development of climbing by your own adventures on the rocks.

“It just ran your life.

“We spent so much time climbing we were like professional mountaineers.”

He was also a prolific writer on climbing issues and regular contributor to the SMC (Scottish Mountaineering Club) Journal for many years.

A spokesperson for Fort William Mountain Festival said: “Having heard the sad news of the passing of Jimmy Marshall, everyone connected with the Fort William Mountain Festival would like to send their heartfelt condolences to Jimmy’s family, friends and loved ones.

“Jimmy won our 2010 Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture for his incredible achievements in Scottish and UK mountaineering.”

The late Hamish McInnes, who tackled Everest in 1953, invented the all-metal ice-axe and set up the Glencoe mountain rescue team, described the climber as “one of the great pioneers of Scottish climbing.”

Robin Smith, who took part in the week-long Ben Nevis expedition, died in 1962 on a snow slope in the Pamirs, during an Anglo-Soviet expedition, at the age of 23.

While descending from the summit of Mount Garmo he was roped to Wilfrid Noyce and a slip by one of them led them both to fall to their deaths. 

Due to the treacherous nature of the terrain in which their bodies fell their expedition companions, including John Hunt and Joe Brown, were forced to bury their bodies in a nearby crevasse.