UPDATE July 2015: Ken and Hannah are now running Scottish walking, mountaineering and climbing courses for West Coast Mountain Guides.
No stars in the comprehensive SMC Ben Nevis or in the Cicerone Ben Nevis & Glencoe guides, and no mention of it in the SMC Scottish Winter Climbs guide, so why bother? Luckily, I had heard that it was well worth seeking out from a couple of folk, and disappoint it certainly did not! In fact, it was brilliant, and deserves 2, if not 3, stars!
I back out working today, and out with Ryan, who had some basic winter climbing experience, and coupled with his enthusiasm, meant it was definitely worth investigating the claims further. The route overall is in good condition, and provided a hugely atmospheric climb with some short steeper sections of ice throughout it’s many pitches. We made it to the huge ledge, overlooking No. 5 gully in 4 pitches, before tackling the Direct Finish (as per the SMC Ben Nevis Guidebook), which again gave a nice steep pitch of ice, before gaining the final ridge to the summit plateau.
I would go so far as to say it’s one of the best routes of it’s grade on the mountain, and certainly similar in quality to No.3 Gully Buttress. Go and climb it and see for yourself!