Costa Blanca and Dinnertime Buttress

Following last weeks first aid course and climbing in the Costa Blanca, yesterday I climbed a blustery Dinnertime Buttress in Glencoe with the Falkirk High Tops Team.

Nearly all the snow has gone from Glencoe.

Glen Coe

I was out today with a Falkirk Outdoors scrambling team of Alison and Dave. The original plan was Aonach Eagach, but with a forecast of 50mph gusts and heavy rain for the afternoon we decided on something lower and quicker. We climbed Dinnertime Buttress on Aonach Dubh taking in a number of excellent short harder variations on the upper buttresses on the way to the summit of Aonach Dubh.

Alison and Dave high above Glen Coe.

We finished scrambling before the rain set in, but it was pretty heavy on our walk out and there was plenty of water running off the hillsides as we drove back through the glen.

West Coast Climbing

I have had a productive four days with the Joint Services. After climbing the Zig Zags on Monday we visited Aonach Dubh on Tuesday were we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, lots of snow and fully rimed.

Yesterday we visited the Cobbler and climbed Chockstone Gully and Maclays Crack. Both routes were very white and fully frozen.

Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress. The route was very white and fully frozen. We climbed the chimney version of the route today which was probably grade II/III.

During the four days we have seen no other climbers.


Four Days on the West

I have been on the West for four days with Joint Services. On Monday we climbed a wet Dinnertime Buttress before visiting the Ice Factor on Tuesday.

Yesterday we climbed the East Ridge of Beinn a’Chaorainn under the new fresh snow. The turf underneath was variable.

Today we climbed the East Ridge of Stob Ban. The turf improved with height and was firm near the top.


Glen Coe

Euan and I were out today with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Winter Mountaineering Team of Alan, Lewis and May. The programmed route was Dinnertime Buttress, as it can be done as a summer or winter scramble. This was definitely a good option early in the season as today it was a sheltered summer scramble with only the very odd patch of snow high up.

Euan, Lewis and Alan on an optional pitch near the top of Aonach Dubh.

The thaw earlier in the week has significantly reduced the snow cover in Glen Coe and views into Stob Coire nan Lochan showed only Broad Gully looking complete at the moment. The turf was firm near the top of Aonach Dubh. There was only light precipitation on a southerly wind whilst we were on the hill, but it was raining hard at road level as we drove south. This will have been falling as snow high up.

4 Routes in Glencoe

Levin and I have been out in Glencoe for the last two days. Yesterday we climbed Curved Ridge and Crowberry Tower on Buachaille Etive Mor. The route was in excellent condition. We descended via a snow bollard into Coire na Tulaich.

Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress on Aonach Dubh, Dorsal Arete in SCNL and descended Broad Gully in SCNL. Dinnertime Buttress didn’t require crampons until beyond the crux chimney. Dorsal Arete was in the best condition I have ever seen it in. Broad Gully was descended on good snow (although there was some shallow windslab).

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Exiting Dorsal Arete.

Glen Coe

John and I were out today in Glen Coe with a Falkirk Community Trust Mountaineering team of Devon, Paul, Pete and Pete. We climbed Dinnertime Buttress with a few fun variation pitches before descending via the Stob Coire nan Lochan path.

Paul on the approach to Dinnertime Buttress with the Aonach Eagach behind.

Winds were low during the day with no new fresh snow. The turf was not well frozen until over 800m and we climbed without crampons for the whole route on snowed up rock on the steeper sections. Ice is forming in Glen Coe, but none of it looked climbable as yet. We didn’t encounter any older consolidated snow from before the thaw, there may be some higher up, which will now be under a layer of fresh unconsolidated snow.

Dinnertime Buttress

It was a beautiful day in Glencoe today. A team from Ballachulish and I climbed Dinnertime Buttress in Glencoe before descending Stob Coire nan Lochan.

The route was in good condition from the chimney pitches upwards with good quantities of snow. Dinnertime does not rely on frozen turf which was useful today as the turf on this aspect is currently very variable.

I have posted a video on the facebook page to give an idea of snow cover.

The summit of Aonach Dubh.

The summit of Aonach Dubh.

Dinnertime Buttress

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I were out on Dinnertime Buttress in Glencoe today. The route was damp and we encountered no snow. More photos can be viewed on the facebook page.


Four Days Based in Lochaber

I got back last night from four days based in Fort William with Andy and Rob. On the way up on Friday we stopped off at Bridge of Orchy and headed in to Creag Coire an Dothaidh. We’d been aiming for Salamander Gully, but a team diverted on to it just before we got to the crag, so we headed up Centigrade. The ice was a bit hollow in places and required a delicate approach, but gave a good sheltered climb.

Rob and Andy high up on Centigrade.

Rob and Andy high up on Centigrade.

Saturday saw us head up to Ben Nevis and climb Ledge Route in excellent conditions. We were the first team up on the day, which required a bit of trail breaking and some careful route choice in sheltered spots with pockets of unconsolidated snow. We saw lots of teams out on The Curtain, Vanishing Gully and heading up towards Harrison’s and Castle Ridge.

On Sunday we needed a shorter day with options to cut off early if required as Rob’s foot was playing up a little. This made me think of Masa and Yuki Sakano’s routes on the North-West Ridge of Binnein Shuas. It’s a short walk in and the routes are on small buttresses up the ridge. I’d climbed Location, Location, Location last year with Jim Bayliss and spotted an option for an alternative start; the cave mentioned in Masa’s description is actually a through route. This gave an hilarious squeeze/thrutch with rucksacks needing to be removed part way up. Rob described it as “like being a kid again”.

Andy about to do battle with the narrow section of the cave.

Andy about to do battle with the narrow section of the cave.

Higher up we climbed Bogle Eyed, which gives a short, but excellent quality, ice pitch and seems to form quite readily. We then aimed for what I thought was Summit North-West Buttress. We climbed what looked like the “obvious zig-zag snow line”, however, it felt somewhat nippy for a II and we popped out about 20m North of the summit rather than “80m West”; so not the same line, but a good pitch direct to the summit. If you want more information for routes on Binnein Shuas search on

Yesterday we climbed Dinnertime Buttress finishing via No. 2 Gully on Aonach Dubh West Face in Glen Coe. The ground was hard frozen from the glen up and the weather was glorious. There are still areas of unconsolidated snow and slab around, so route choice requires thought.

Rob and Andy near the top of No.2 Gully.

Rob and Andy near the top of No.2 Gully.

We then drove back down and as the guys were flying out this morning we had time for a meal in Edinburgh and a couple of drams in The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which made Rob very happy. I think Andy was just happy the weather was a vast improvement on when he was up earlier in the season. I’ve added some photos to the ClimbNow Facebook page.