Buachaille Etive Mor & Stag Rocks

The last two days I’ve been out with Andy & Rob. We were based in Fort William on Saturday night, so headed for Buachaille Etive Mor on Saturday and climbed Curved Ridge. A later start meant we avoided the worst of the wind. It was raining in heavy showers lower down, but on the route it was just the occasional snow/graupel shower and these were only settling from around 850m. An ice axe was useful for the snow field before the Crowberry Tower gap and for the initial lip back in to Coire na Tulaich.

Rob on Curved Ridge

Rob on Curved Ridge

Overnight there were heavy showers in the West and these had fallen as snow down to around 650m. Given the forecast we chose to head over to the Cairngorms and after walking up to pt. 1141m we nipped over to the top of Stag Rocks.

Rob and Andy on snow near Crowberry Tower

Rob and Andy on snow near Crowberry Tower

We descended the left fork of Y-Gully, looking up, with snow at the lip and in the lower section before climbing Afterthought Arete mostly on dry rock, but with the odd graupel shower. The fresh snow wasn’t really settling in the Cairngorms, except in sheltered locations or on existing snow patches.

Descending Y-Gully, Stag Rocks

Descending Y-Gully, Stag Rocks

A couple of good Scottish Mountaineering days in great company. Not really typical May weather, but then what’s typical. The larger North or East facing high gullies in both the West and East are still holding snow and would give good climbing after a frosty night.

Andy on Afterthought Arete

Andy on Afterthought Arete

Buachaille Etive Mor

The snow conditions currently in Glencoe are excellent with many of the easier gully climbs in great condition. We climbed up Coire na Tulaich which was in excellent condition before making the final ascent to Stob Dearg.

The Coire headwall is steep (maybe 50 degrees at the exit) on very firm snow and careful crampon work is required.

The Buachaille.

The Buachaille.

Looking out past one of our feathered friends at the top of Coire na Tulaich.

Looking out past one of our feathered friends at the top of Coire na Tulaich.

Curved Ridge

John and I were out today with a Falkirk Community Trust Team of Gayle, Isobel, Lorn, Mary, Sarah and Wilson. We climbed Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor including taking in Crowberry Tower.

Sarah, Mary and Gayle on the lower part of Curved Ridge

Sarah, Mary and Gayle on the lower part of Curved Ridge

We descended via Stob Dearg and Coire na Tulaich. There was rain on and off all day and a fresh Southerly wind. The route was sheltered until Crowberry Tower, which made for a pleasant ascent even though the rock was wet.

The team descending Coire na Tulaich

The team descending Coire na Tulaich

Buachaille Etive Mor

A very snowy Buachaille.

A very snowy Buachaille.

I have been out today on the Buachaille in Glencoe with a team looking at snow anchors and avalanche search techniques. We carefully worked up to around 500 metres in Coire na Tulaich hugging the west ridge before finding a good safe area to practise these skills.

There has been large amounts of new snow and avalanche activity in Glencoe over the last couple of days. Careful route choice is required.

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.