With very strong winds on the forecast, Philip and I went to Buachaille Etive Mor in Glen Coe to stay sheltered from the worst of the wind. We climbed North Buttress which was a lot of fun. As it turned out, the wind did not pick up until we were half way down the descent so we enjoyed the climb with snow falling gently and the freezing level just beneath our boots all the way up. The cover of snow is not deep so walking up to the start of the climbing is really awkward; soft snow on slabs and scree and heather. It is always well worth the effort though.
The buttresses were complete white with snow and rime. Slime Wall was the whitest I have ever seen it I think. I guess the swirling wind yesterday, cloud and freezing temperature formed rime on every surface up there. The rime was easy to brush off again and the climbing on North Buttress was quite steady away with hooks and ledges easy to find. The turf was well frozen and we even found a touch of ice in one section of the chimney. Despite this, ice is in short supply at trhe moment and we are mainly enjoying ridges and buttresses.
Philip and I enjoyed two classic winter climbs which gave him a really good idea of what Scottish winter climbing is all about including mixed climbing, strong wind, long walks in and descents, and sloppy mushy snow sometimes! He even had to help push my van out of the ice and mud at Lagangarbh (and a huge thanks to the van of young women who stopped to help as well). Stormy weather with fluctuating temperature are forecast for the next few days so we might well get ice forming a bit soon. Fingers crossed!
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.