Buachaille Etive Mor

I was out with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors scrambling team of Shona and Donald today. We had a great day climbing North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor.

Shona and Donald on North-Buttress with Rannoch Moor behind.

It stayed dry for the route, although there was a shower as we descended and we drove back through some very heavy localised showers.

Glen Coe

John and I were out today in Glen Coe with a Falkirk Community Trust team of Andrea, Gregor, Helen and Marco. There were rain showers as we drove across Rannoch Mor and cloud down to about 400m , so we opted for an ascent of North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor.

Andrea in the cloud high on North Buttress.

Andrea in the cloud high on North Buttress.

The rock was drier than expected and we only had very minor rain showers; this made for a pleasant day although unfortunately no real views. We climbed to the summit of Stob Dearg and descended via Coire na Tulaich.

Grand Days Out on Skye

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I have just had three great days out on Skye. The first two were spent in the Black Cuillin and the last day in the red Cuillin.

On Thursday we climbed Window Buttress and the South Crack of the In-Pinn as well as the Voie Normale. The South Crack was brilliant and offers a fantastic alternative to the normal route.

The weather was again perfect on Friday so we traversed Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Thearlaich, Sgurr Mhic Chonnich and An Stac.

Today we climbed Sgurr nan Each via the North Butttress. This is a good place to avoid the crowds.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

Northern Lights and Classic Mountaineering

Andrew flew up on Wednesday and I picked him up from EICA Ratho, where he’d visited Alan Lockhart who’s working with him to solve some long term injuries. We then headed North with the aim of four days of mountaineering/climbing. Andrew is planning some long term goals in the Greater Ranges and the idea was to improve Andrew’s efficiency of movement on alpine terrain, look at some specific skills and also have a good time ticking some Scottish classics without aggravating any injuries. As we drove North we were lucky enough to get a great view of the Northern Lights along Glen Dochart and North of Crianlarich. On Thursday we climbed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and descended Curved Ridge taking in Crowberry Tower. We had sunshine at times and the rock was surprisingly dry with most of Rannoch Wall looking dry enough for climbing.

Andrew exiting one of the chimneys on North Buttress.

Andrew exiting one of the chimneys on North Buttress.

We then headed up to Skye as Andrew had never been in the Black Cuillin and was keen to get a feel for the ridge. The weather on Friday was unfortunately worse than earlier forecasts, so Andrew didn’t get much chance to see the hills. However, we ascended Sgurr Dearg via Coire na Banaichdaich and it’s North-West Flank; climbed the Inaccessible Pinnacle by it’s East Ridge and descended the South-East Flank of Sgurr Dearg to the An Stac Screes. Having been in constant steady rain and cloud for most of the day we then decided to bail down the screes and out via Coire Lagan.

Approaching the top of the Inn Pinn in the rain and cloud.

Approaching the top of the Inn Pinn in the rain and cloud.

With the forecast not looking great on Skye for Saturday we had an early start and made for the Cairngorms. Here we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda. After a pleasant chat with Glenn and Euan who were headed for Hell’s Lum Crag we climbed Pygmy Ridge. We approached this via the line of Central Gully Left Hand and it’s worth noting that there a couple of sizable perched blocks in this area at the moment. Once on the plateau we headed down Coire Domhain and around to Stag Rocks where we climbed Afterthought Arete, sticking to the ridge as much as possible to maximise the climbing.

Andrew on Afterthought Arete.

Andrew on Afterthought Arete.

We had accommodation booked over in the West for Saturday night and needed a shortish day to allow for flights on Sunday, so the final day saw us back in Glen Coe. We climbed Barn Wall Route on the East Face of Aonach Dubh, this requires a steady approach as although there are excellent positive holds throughout there isn’t a lot in the way of gear. We then headed around under Stob Coire nan Lochan, so Andrew could get a look at this as a potential future winter venue, before heading out along Gearr Aonach and descending The Zig-Zags.

Andrew tired, but smiling, at the bottom of the Zig Zags on the last day.

Andrew tired, but smiling, at the bottom of the Zig Zags on the last day.

Four days of Classic Mountaineering in mostly very good weather for the time of year with the exception of Friday. If you’re heading out it’s worth knowing that we haven’t had a proper frost yet and hence the midges are still around and biting, thankfully for me they seemed to prefer Andrew.

Buachaille Etive Mor, North Buttress

Gayle and Lucy from the Falkirk High Tops Team and I climbed North Buttress on Buachille Etive Mor in Glencoe yesterday (Wednesday).

Gayle climbing high on North Buttress.

Gayle climbing high on North Buttress.

Crampons and ice axes were needed from 70 metres below the chimneys. There is still large quantities of snow above this.

A small avalanche had released at the top of North Buttress. This combined with the avalanche forecast made it clear that descending Coire na Tulaich would not be an option. Therefore, we descended the ridge to its west from spot height 902m.

It was raining at all levels yesterday.

Gayle descending into Coire na Tulaich.

Gayle descending into Coire na Tulaich.

More Buachaille and Ben Nevis Photos

John’s kindly sent through a few additional photos from Friday and Saturday, which show the current conditions well. 

Climbing in to the sun on North Buttress

Climbing in to the sun on North Buttress

Harvey on Tower Ridge

Harvey on Tower Ridge

Heading towards Tower Gap

Heading towards Tower Gap

Buachaille Etive Mor and Ben Nevis

John, Harvey and I have spent the last two days in Glen Coe and on Ben Nevis. On Friday we climbed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and descended Curved Ridge.

Harvey and John on North Buttress

Harvey and John on North Buttress with lots of exposure to Rannoch Mor

Today we climbed Tower Ridge, which was suprisingly quiet for a sunny Saturday, on Ben Nevis. We then headed around over the Carn Mor Dearg Arete to the summit of Carn Mor Dearg to add to John and Harvey’s already high Munro tally for the month.

Part way up the Great Tower on Tower Ridge

Part way up the Great Tower on Tower Ridge

The weather was glorious for both days with sunshine and light winds. The rock was dry, which made these classic Scottish climbs and scrambles a joy to climb. Both days included a dip in the river on the walk out, which shows just how warm it is. With the high pressure set to continue for a little while at least it’s worth taking plenty of fluids and suncream, sunhats etc. if you’re heading for the hills at the moment.

Harvey and John with the upper section of Tower Ridge behind

Harvey and John with the upper section of Tower Ridge behind