The rest of this week is forecast to be quite stormy, especially over night tonight until dawn tomorrow. John and I wanted to do some climbing and get down again fairly early so we went to Buachaille Etive Mor and climbed North Buttress. This is a favourite climb of mine, especially when it is windy. Driving up Glen Coe we had some snow showers down to the road at Lagangarbh but also some breaks in the cloud, some blue sky and a few patches of sunshine. The snow was soft and wet from a very brief but wet thaw last night so we plodded up through deep wet snow to the start of the climbing.
The climbing is on pretty solid rock with no turf required at all. If the snow is frozen it is really quite nice but the snow was all soft today with a crust higher up, so it just got in the way! It was all very white though and the views across Rannoch Moor were spectacular. Every now and then we'd get a blast of wind and a wee shower that sent spindrift down the climb but generally it was very nice.
We climbed straight up the chimneys to the terrace in six lovely pitches. Having been to the summit before we decided to go down a different way and keep out of the wind. Two teams behimnd us meant it might be a bit awkward to abseil down the route so we traversed across the top of Raven's Gully, Cuneiform Buttress and into Great Gully. We carried on traversing slightly downhill to the top of Great Gully Buttress and came down the gully between this and Broad Buttress. This is a grade I gully (does anyone know a name for it?) and when it is full of snow, like today, it makes an easy descent back to the path.
We got back to the van as the heavy snow came on and the wind picked up. Later this evening, naturally triggered avalanches started coming down the gullies and Coire na Tullach. Unfortunately there was another avalanche in Number Five Gully on Ben Nevis this morning which killed three people. There is a high avalanche hazard in Lochaber and in Glencoe now and during tomorrow. It's likely to remain very difficult in the mountains for the rest of this week. If you want to go out, plan very carefully, check the SAIS Avalanche Forecast and make sure you know how to interpret what it says. Take care, play safe.
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.