It was still windy enough for the A82 to be closed to high sided vehicles this morning but fresh snow down to 600m showed it had at least got colder. Rintje and I went to Buachaille Etive Mor along with BMG trainees Dave and John. We climbed D Gully Buttress which turned out to be a popular choice. There was a team of three on the route and another considering their options at the foot of the route. The climb was being well sheltered from the wind and, as forecast, the wind dropped slowly during the day.
There are two tricky pitches on the route. The first is soon found, a steep wall with very good cracks for picks and ledges for crampons. The second is, by contrast, tenuous and sloping. I've always climbed this by a rising diagonal rightwards to a tricky little groove overlooking D Gully. Today though I found out you can climb it on the left after a little step leftwards with good protection. Every day is a learning day and I'm very happy to know about this line - it feels far more like the grade IV,4 it's supposed to be!
We went up Curved Ridge which was quite verglased but also had some usable neve. The wind on top was not so bad but it was clear that it had been extremely windy previously. There were very few areas of fresh snow building because the wind had just blasted it all away. Coire na Tullach was scoured as well and the old, firm snow went all the way down the gorge so the walk out was quick and easy. With sunshine and great views it was a very nice and surprising end to the day.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.