Monday, 15 December 2008
North Buttress IV,4***
With the weather forecast looking wet on the east side of Scotland John Forrester and myself decided it would be best to head west. After a damp night spent at the north face car park under the Ben. in the morning we quickly came to the conclusion that there would be too much powder to climb in the Ben so we headed to Glen Coe and the iconic mountain Buachaille Etive Mor.
We had our sights set on North buttress. After much route finding problems, in the dark and both new to the hill, we found the start of the route proper. A fine line of chimneys leading 150m up the north buttress.
I had the pleasure of leading the first pitch after drawing the short straw. The chimney's provided good climbing for the grade and warmed us up for what was to come. A climb with three cruxes. The second pitch looked much harder. John was keen to lead. A short narrow chimney with some good back and foot moves needed to gain height led up to a snowy gully.
The next consisted of a short rib then a steep chimney, which proved to be the real crux, with some good technical moves and balanced crampon work the last of the difficulty's were behind us.
The rest of the climb is quite straight forward, though under heavy powder it took longer than one would have liked. Once we topped out on Stob Dearg, we had the magnificent view of Ben Nevis, glowing pink in the setting sun, just breaking through the clag.