Curved Ridge, Buachaille Etive Mor
|The foreshortened view of Curved Ridge|
Being a classic route, and a Saturday, the route was not surprisingly busy. Not too busy to cause major queues however. We opted to take in alpine coils and move together for most of the route in order to improve efficiency. We set 20m between us, which would provide enough rope to place runners through harder sections whilst minimising rope drag. It didn't gain us any advantage in hindsight because we would repeatedly meet with a party in front of us and be forced to make a premature belay. As a result we weren't moving much more than a rope length between belays anyway. Taking an independent line was actually quite difficult as well. Not only because the technical difficulties increased but also because we left the main passage of packed down snow and brushed rock in exchange for deeper, more unconsolidated snow. The net result was that there was no gain to be made and it was better just to get in line.
|Anna climbing the start of Curved Ridge|
The climbing was largely straightforward with the exception of a short interesting tech 3 corner halfway up the route. Without doubt though the best thing about Curved Ridge was the awesome, expansive views across Rannoch Moor to the south. Beyond the ridge the ground quickly dropped away to the broad plateau below, giving the ridge a real lofty feel. It was good to climb the route on such a clear day to fully appreciate this, although the gusty, biting wind reminded us that this was still Scottish winter and not Norway.
|The crux corner|
|Not far from the top|
|Belaying close to the top|
Last time I had climbed on Buachaille Etive Mor I had finished at 11pm after a somewhat dramatic day on the North Buttress, or at least somewhere in that vague vicinity. On this occasion it was just 1pm, which allowed plenty of time to linger on the summit and eat some lunch.
|View back to the summit|
|The start of the descent|
|The epic bum slide down Coire na Tulaich, starting from the col in the back of the picture|
|View from the gully|
Curved Ridge was an excellent choice of route today and fitting finale to the trip. Easy and enjoyable. I even made it to the pub for 4pm to watch the English beat the Welsh in the Six Nations rugby. All things considered, five routes is definitely a successful trip. We could have more done with better health but equally we could have got nothing done - based on the lack of conditions in the run up to our trip. Already I'm already about a return next year. So many supurb winter routes that I still need to climb in this lifetime.
|Buachaille Etive Mor|