walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor


Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:57 pm

Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Date walked: 26/02/2019

Distance: 6.53 km

Ascent: 825m

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I could almost believe that I fell asleep on Valentines Day and woke up in the middle of July, the weather was so unseasonable warm and the snow conspicuously absent. Rather than bemoaning the abrupt interruption of winter adventures we decided to make the most of the weather with a scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor. Our chosen route was to climb Stob Dearg via Lagangarbh Buttress and come down via Creag a' Bhancair Skyline.
The night before we checked out the route with binoculars to minimise the risk of any nasty surprises and concluded that it really did seem snow free.
The next morning we set out at 8:30 for the the short walk in to Lagangarbh Buttress which was easily identifiable, with a gully running down its centre. A detailed description of the scrambling route is in most of the scrambling guidebooks and is graded as 2/3.
31540A04-DFA9-4C8A-8290-275C18F0BC9B.jpeg
The Route

15860009-7663-42C4-96B2-179C639F29AA.jpeg
Lagangarbh Buttress Ahead

In many parts of the UK it was the warmest winter day since records began, there was very little wind, and even the rock was essentially warm and dry. The only thing missing was blue sky, the clouds were mostly above the summits so visability was good but the atmosphere was hazy, so unfortunately the photo's are rather drab. Still you can't have it all and the route was great fun and Buachaille Etive Mor as imposing as ever.
After leaving the path to make our way up to the buttress we decided to try scrambling up the slabs in the centre of the stream. After a few tentative moves on slimy rocks we decided this should only be attempted in a prolonged drought and resorted to the rough path up the heather. :lol:
Lagangarbh Buttress route is left of the gully that splits the buttress. It starts on easy angled rocky steps, which were dry, superbly grippy and with a plethora of small features to admire and hang on to. :D
3009D54C-5D5E-4A78-ABFC-57B9A85C45FF.jpeg
Start of the Scramble on Easy Angled Rock

EF91681B-5D1F-41B4-9A4B-6791D15C3337.jpeg
and Series of Easy Steps

We always seem to start scrambles carrying our trekking poles, trying to hold the rock with poles in our hands or cursing them as they refuse to balance small ledges unless they can commandeer the best holds. It was not until we reached the second large heather terrace we finally stopped to put the offending articles away. Moving up the rock suddenly became much easier :lol:.
Although the first part of the route had been easy enough we anticipated the scrambling ahead would be more exposed and we may welcome some protection from a rope. We decided to get geared up whilst we could do so in comfort!
In fact there was only a short section of exposure that made me feel nervous and we didn't use the rope but there were enough loose stones to make me grateful of the helmet.
Following the route instructions we were weaving backwards and forwards to avoid steep walls some running with water. Most of the route was quite slabby and where there were harder steps the rock was consistently rough with good handhold. The situation was magnificent.
699C6437-3026-4930-B77D-9F3B2E0E883F.jpeg
Lovely Rock

B20846AF-C0AF-4641-AF8E-335BCE5A24C6.jpeg
Scrambling in the Shadow of Stob Dearg.

6FF19625-DBCA-4771-B3FF-2D248E1C7496.jpeg
Glen Coe

36841CAC-A88F-4F5B-84DA-52AB681E1A02.jpeg
Easier angled rock.

Then up ahead loomed the final steep buttress. :crazy:
4115F8EB-BA6B-4572-B45E-678C55CA726E.jpeg
First Glimpse of the Imposing Final Buttress

But before we reached it there was quite a walk up grassy/heathery steps.
And then we were standing before the steep face looking for an easy corner to climb but could only see a dark and slimy looking chimney :( . Fortunately this was not part of the route and just behind it was a much more inviting dry corner of stepped blocks. Some easy bridging and a foot jam took us up to a grassy platform.
066CABEC-F4E7-41E7-95EA-97B797BC130D.jpeg
Route up the Final Steep Buttress

382416B4-7C41-4144-8D00-861FB8523102.jpeg
Bridging up the Corner

983D8F28-4E53-4F68-B285-5C7A283D10A8.jpeg
Topping out on the Grassy Platform

Leading away from platform was a sloping edge with very tentative handholds, :crazy: followed by some exposed ledges, narrower but more secure.
F7F9B84C-B43A-457C-96A7-E5FCBA4F5F4B.jpeg
Edging along squeeking softly to myself.

2FAA30DC-77E3-4423-AA69-0EAA107E0E2C.jpeg
Exposed Ledges

This was the crux, serious enough to cause consternation but short lived :D and followed by an easy scramble to the top of the buttress.
The quality of the rock and the splendour of the mountain combined to make a really enjoyable route.
The only downside is that the scramble finishes at 750M so we still had almost 300m of ascent to reach Stob Dearg. The ridge across the top of the eastern face of Buachaille Etive Mor was a direct approach to the summit and although it was rough going through boulders and scree it was not overly steep and provided close up views of impressive buttresses.
6FAC5749-F7A9-48B4-9139-E5BFB34B9C0D.jpeg
Rough Path to the Summit

and back along Glen Coe
982DF0BF-877D-4591-BAC6-909DBF9834F5.jpeg
Glen Coe

We reached Stob Dearg at 13:00 and it was a busy day up top, with walkers and climbers enjoying the unseasonable weather. There was no sign of the raven so often seen here scrounging food in return for photobombing summit selfies. I wonder if he is still about?
We relaxed whilst waiting for Jeremy Jetboil to do his stuff and heat the water for our much needed brew. No snow to melt today. :lol:
7F185703-117F-41B5-97E2-C634B8641316.jpeg
Relaxing on Stob Dearg

and then wandered along to the true summit for a photo before heading down.
4C935D02-E2CB-4B5B-9150-905882FD25EE.jpeg
True summit

The only snow on the hill was in Coire na Tuilach, with a few metres typically covering the top of the path. We saw a couple of walkers, obviously disconcerted too find the snow but determined not to be thwarted having come so far, crawl up to the coire rim.
2FD597A5-1CB5-4423-A5B7-53F6FB3BE1D1.jpeg
February Snow in Coire na Tulaich

Our descent route was the ridge banding the west side of Coire na Tulaich. This ridge is considered an alternative winter route to avoid avalanche risks in Coire Na Tuilach and we wanted to explore it in case we ever felt inclined to come this way in true winter conditions. We also wanted to reach the Creag a' Bhancair to add a scrambling end to the day.
FD8A1065-8EF2-486D-9659-2E50E7B5292B.jpeg
Ridge Banding West Side of Coire na Tulaich

On such a beautiful day it was nice to be out in the open rather than enclosed in the coire and there was a faint path weaving its way through rubble and steep grass. Crampon scratches confirmed we were on the right route. After a fine start their were plenty of obstacles to avoid, including some substantial crags and loose rock. If you are not familiar with the terrain I imagine it would be tricky finding the best route down in poor visibility and snow.
5045B6FD-9694-4AFA-B769-34F59B3F3C80.jpeg
Avoiding Crags

Lower down it would be possible to continue on steep grass slopes to meet the path at the bottom of Coire na Tuilach. We however continued straight down to the slabs that make up Creag a'Bhancair Skyline, which is listed in the guidebook as a grade1 scramble. Once again we were pleasantly surprised by just how good the rock was, as we clambered down the slabby outcrops with good fingery handholds.
488E2CBF-B034-4A20-840A-39E82C15CA5B.jpeg

11D199E4-5B52-4CD8-BC7D-D625951F6B7F.jpeg
Scramble down the slabs

A fun way to finish a day spent on Buachaille Etive Mor's less trodden paths and an unexpected summer adventure in the middle of winter.
13B9328C-0B26-4FD6-9CBE-7F2AEB0517C2.jpeg
Looking back at the Lagangarbh Buttress Route
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby dav2930 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:31 pm

Looks a great scramble. As you say, "an unexpected summer adventure in the middle of winter". Karl and I were on Bidean the same day and were thinking along very similar lines to yourselves - the next day we were climbing on the Buachaille (Agag's Groove - Crowberry Tower), the weather being more like April than February! We descended the standard Coire Tulaich route; your descent looked much more interesting - must bear it mind for a future occasion! :clap:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1447
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:14   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:164
Wainwrights:214   Islands:2
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:13 pm

dav2930 wrote:Looks a great scramble. As you say, "an unexpected summer adventure in the middle of winter". Karl and I were on Bidean the same day and were thinking along very similar lines to yourselves - the next day we were climbing on the Buachaille (Agag's Groove - Crowberry Tower), the weather being more like April than February! We descended the standard Coire Tulaich route; your descent looked much more interesting - must bear it mind for a future occasion! :clap:

Sounds like you had some fun in the sun as well 😊👍 personally I though Lagangarbh Buttress was nicer than Curved Ridge, but it may not be a fair comparison as we may have gone the wrong way on curved ridge :lol: .
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:02 am

Looks like a cracking route, which I must try. I've only ascended via Curved Ridge to date.

Interesting and encouraging that the rock is nicely rough. Scrambling down stuff like that can be a tad challenging if it isn't!

What bonkers weather! I was out on the hills in Wales on the same day, and I think I could have stripped off to shorts and T-shirt!
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 3034
Munros:173   Corbetts:31
Hewitts:237
Wainwrights:100   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:54 am

Alteknacker wrote:Looks like a cracking route, which I must try. I've only ascended via Curved Ridge to date.

Interesting and encouraging that the rock is nicely rough. Scrambling down stuff like that can be a tad challenging if it isn't!

What bonkers weather! I was out on the hills in Wales on the same day, and I think I could have stripped off to shorts and T-shirt!


I think the rock on these two scrambles benefitted from everyone else being busy polishing Curved Ridge and The Anoach Eagach! :lol: It was superb!
After that crazy interlude winter is on the way back! Noticed the cairngorms are starting to look white if still a bit patchy. :D
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby litljortindan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:59 pm

Adventurous and dramatic looking as ever. Won't be doing this but still interesting to read.
User avatar
litljortindan
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 1928
Munros:115   Corbetts:58
Grahams:28   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:47   Hewitts:12
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Dec 11, 2011

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:33 pm

litljortindan wrote:Adventurous and dramatic looking as ever. Won't be doing this but still interesting to read.

Thank you, trying to get in a bit of adventure before we are too far past it! :lol: :lol: I am pleased you found it interesting.
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby goingforawii » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:33 am

Great report - looked like a fantastic day!

I didn’t realise the Raven was such a celebrity! It must have been him I met just off the summit heading towards Stob Na Doire in October last year :lol:
User avatar
goingforawii
 
Posts: 167
Munros:282   
Hewitts:78
Wainwrights:45   Islands:47
Joined: Nov 15, 2017
Location: Birmingham

Re: A Nice Day for a Scramble on Buachaille Etive Mor

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:21 pm

goingforawii wrote:Great report - looked like a fantastic day!

I didn’t realise the Raven was such a celebrity! It must have been him I met just off the summit heading towards Stob Na Doire in October last year :lol:


Thanks GFW :D . We have met the raven a couple of times but he also seems to get mentioned in quite a few walk reports! Here he is a few years ago having persuaded a climber to perform tricks for him
D53B1590-8675-45BB-819F-8FE56CB3D83C.jpeg
User avatar
Cairngorm creeper
Scrambler
 
Posts: 692
Munros:140   Corbetts:21
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:15
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Jun 4, 2013
Location: Grantown-on-spey

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ageing rocker, BlackPanther, bryn, cnwood32, JFT_96, Mouse1903, naepace, PeteR and 66 guests