UPDATE July 2015: Ken and Hannah are now running Scottish walking, mountaineering and climbing courses for West Coast Mountain Guides.
For the past two days, I have been with Howie and Ed, who have come up for an Improvers Snow and Ice Course. With a pretty burly forecast for Tuesday, and with fresh snow forecasted to sea level, we went for North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor, which provided the guys with their first taste of steeper mixed climbing. The snow on the route was rather cosmetic, making the climbing a bit awkward at times, but they both coped well. During the ascent, we looked at stance management and belaying two seconds whilst using parallel ropes, and then finished off by abseiling the line of the route. We did get a few glimpses of sunshine in amongst the falling snow.
Today, with a much better forecast, and with plenty of fresh snow now on the ledges, we went up to Stob Coire Nan Lochan to climb Raeburn’s (Ordinary) Route on Central Buttress. We were the first of only two teams to head up there today (the other team went off to Far Eastern Buttress), and so we blazed a trail through some quite deep drifts. The whole route was very snowy, with some of the short mixed steps completely buried. The turf on the first pitch was frozen where exposed, but the snow was on the soft side. Again, both Ed & Howie made steady progress on the route, and in doing so, experienced another Glencoe classic. They also witnessed a huge cornice collapsing and landing in NC Gully.