North Face Route (Severe)
Buachaille Etive Mor - 1022m (no summit)

Tuesday 16th August 2016

Weather/Conditions: Hazy morning turnig into a warm day and clearer skies in the afternoon
Distance/Ascent/Time: 5.1km / 550m / 8h 20m
Accompanying: Steve

Topo above - 5 pitches, I led all. I drew this right after getting home, so it's very accurate to our route.

Quality day out with Steve. We went for this to find some multipitch terrain, and with the forecast looking good, the Buachaille seemed as good a choice as any. I wanted to keep the grade low, but didn't want to do Agag's yet again. So opted instead for North Face Route on the Central Buttress.

It was a good call all things considered. The route is relatively easy to descend from without having to go up to the summit of the mountain, and gives a bunch of pitches of adventurous climbing, all of which were new to me.

We walked in with morning sun breaking through trails of haze on Rannoch Moor. Central Buttress isn't too far above the approach path and we scrambled to the base and racked up. The climb as we did it consisted of five pitches, and I led up the first two which felt like an approach on vegetated slabs. This brought us to the base of steeper and cleaner walls.

Pitch three was a lovely exposed traverse and I took a belay pretty quickly to keep communication flowing. Steve seconded around the corner, and the following pitch; #4, is really the highlight.

It seemed to follow quite a precise but logical route, first up a slabby corner, then into a chimney cleft. It then stepped out left from here to gain an amazing exposed position right on top of the belay stance below. The highlight, for sure. I had to get a picture. A short wall followed, then some vegetation, then a belay stance. I built a belay and brought Steve up, who enjoyed a good fight with the crux as well.

The last pitch was really a scrambling end to the whole lot. I didn't place any gear, then Steve followed up and we packed ropes away.

It was a good route but I could also tell the quality of rock and terrain wasn't quite up there with the other buttresses on the Buachaille. We followed a little exposed path to gain Curved Ridge where I met Dougie Cunningham (for the second time; the first I think I was a bit wasted ;-) )

Steve and I descended Curved Ridge; I think Steve found that spicy, and more serious than the route. Then in a hot sun we walked back to the car, under skies that had gained in clarity.

We first stopped by the Clachaig, then went to the Glen Coe Visitor Centre for a look around. I'd been involved in Outlander so the Scottish history felt especially relevant at this point. Then we headed home, stopping by Inveruglas on the way back.

Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) c. 7.10am Altnafeadh
(2.20) c. 9.30am Start of North Face Route
(6.00) c. 1.10pm Top of North Face Route
(8.20) 3.30pm Altnafeadh

Written: 2017-08-23