Thursday, 6 February 2014

Laughing chicken** seen on North Buttress!

 The Buachaille - North Buttress IV 4 takes the line of shallow chimneys on the left of the crag

There have been a spate of blogs reporting great conditions on the Buachaille's North Buttress, a classic IV 4 which will go in most conditions and is a good option when avalanches threaten. It wasn't looking good as we left the car in tropical temperatures and postholed through knee deep sugar snow up to the foot of the route. However it all changed as soon as we swung the first axe into the snow ice that plastered the initial groove. The climbing was easy and gear easy to come by. However a few minutes later we were in full blizzard conditions and getting pummeled by a constant stream of spindrift. Rob and Barry seemed to be enjoying the experience so we continued. Our initial plan had been to abseil off after the difficulties to rest the legs after three big days but a glimpse of sunshine and views over Rannoch Mor tempted us on upwards towards the summit. Deep snow slowed our progress on the easy final slopes but a couple of bus loads of Plas Y Brenin students had visited the summit via the safe ridge so we had a huge trail to follow on the way down.

**Rob & Barry have renamed Ptarmingan Laughing Chickens! Don't ask me why but it's been a very surreal week!
 Impressive avalanche debris

Approaching the climb above Glencoe and the A82

Blizzard conditions and spindrift on North Buttress

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