Recently I have been up to B Buttress on Aonach Dubh West Face a few times. Pinnacle Face Route and Cyclops are great climbs on the buttress below The Rake. Above the Rake there are two more tiers of buttresses which seem to have very few climbs on them. So today Tommy and I went straight there to check out some potential new routes. We had an amazing day!
The first buttress you get to above The Rake is about 70m high and steeper and bigger than it looks. We started up a steep flake filled chimney toward the left of the face which gave some proper pulling on the axes for a few moves before a very comfortable belay on a big ledge on the right. There was a peg in a crack on the ledge so someone has been there before at some point but it was a long time ago looking at the rust on the peg. We stepped up and right to climb a chimney with a wee overhang at the top and got to the top of the buttress. These were two really fine pitches that need the turf to be well frozen and a bit of ice around like today certainly helped a little.
The final buttress also gave us a great climb up a groove right on the front, overlooking Number Three Gully. Winter climbs are often much steeper than they look and this was no exception. We went up a groove, past a big sloping ramp into a wee corner for a pitch then a brilliant 40m long groove all the way to the top. Another 65m climb that was very good indeed.
The view from B Buttress is incredible. The slope drops straight down to the floor of the glen and out over the loch to the hills of Ardgour. We had a few spells of sunshine but the strong NW wind was blowing around quite a bit of snow. There are areas of wind slab that are quite easy to spot from the scoured snow in most places.
So we did four sustained and quite strenuous pitches of climbing above The Rake today. If you were to start up B Buttress on Pinnacle Face Route (four pitches) and carry on up what we climbed today to climb the "B Buttress Integral" you would enjoy eight pitches of great climbing in an amazing place and you'd have quite sore arms!
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.