Last year Tommy and I climbed a collection of brilliant chimneys in the five days of climbing we had in March. This year we have started off with some buttresses to go for something different. We started out with Crest Route which, as the name suggests, climbs the crest of North Buttress of Stob Coire nan Lochan. It was quite a warm walk in and even on the climb it was very pleasant with no wind. Some fresh snow last night and during the day kept the ledges covered and the hooks hidden just to make it more sporting!
It's quite a steep and sustained climb but with very positive hooks and excellent protection. The pitches are not very long too so the grade of V,6 is probably right but I can certainly see why it can feel harder sometimes. Today, in the benign conditions, Tommy and I climbed it quite quickly and we abseiled down NC Gully to get onto Raeburn's Buttress for a second route of the day.
Tommy led us to the top of the climb and into the sunshine. It had been snowing steadily for the last pitch but the snow gave way to sunshine and just a light breeze on top. The views down to Glencoe village from here are staggering. We jumped in to Broad Gully after taking off the crampons for a fast slide down to the coire and a late lunch!
Meanwhile on Ben Nevis, Stuart and Neil climbed Fawlty Towers to do some coaching in placing protection and belay set-ups. The snow is settling down slowly and some of it is quite useful for climbing now. The more humid air combined with slightly cooler nights has firmed up the snow a bit. Green Gully has been climbed I think but I guess there might not have been very many useful ice screws placed. We have a mixed but generally cold week forecast with a stormy and mild weekend. After that high pressure might well build again and bring us better weather.
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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.