Harrold Raeburn was an outstanding climbing. In 1904 he made the first ascent of Green Gully on Ben Nevis which remained the hardest ice climbing in the world for nearly 30 years. One of his other climbs was on Central Buttress of Stob Coire nan Lochan and it is equally difficult and brilliant. Will, Jonathan and I climbed it today and it's still no pushover.
There is still very little ice around although it might just be starting to form. Instead we have some reasonably useless snow on the rocks and some rimed up crags. So Raeburn's Route was a great choice at grade IV. It has been climbed a few times recently and the snow has been compressed by many boots, making it nice firm stuff that will hold a pick enough for a move or two. This combined with plenty of great hooks and torques makes for excellent climbing. Caspar and Rob were on the climb as well going over some instruction in placing protection and belays in winter.
There were a few other teams in the coire climbing Crest Route and Dorsal Arete amongst a few others. The sun was shining and it was another cold, dry day with spectacular views. More like this would be very nice even if there is little ice around. The forecast says we should get cold weather until Tuesday. Let's hope so.
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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.