24th July 2014
North Face Route
The fantastic weather this week just had to be taken advantage of, so six of us headed off to Glencoe and Buachaille Etive Mor. Five of us had in mind the Classic Rock tick North Face Route, a 240m Severe; whilst Simon fancied a first try at Curved Ridge. We all sauntered up together and the five climbers waved goodbye to Simon above the Waterslide and traversed round to find the bottom of the route.
Daniela and Anna led off first as we hoped that a pair would be quicker than our team of three: Justyna, Jen and myself. Then it was our turn. Justyna led off and she and I swapped leads up to Heather Ledge. Keen to avoid the crux pitch, Justyna led off round the traverse from Heather Ledge. Unfortunately the move round the arete proved a step too far for her and, after several spirited attempts, she decided it would be better if I tried it. So I got to lead that and the next crux pitch. We were then reunited with Daniela and Anna debating which of two chimneys the guidebook was referring to for the next pitch. A democratic vote saw us heading up what turned out, luckily, to be the correct one. Justyna enjoyed leading this pitch and that left us with one more pitch to go. This final pitch was exposed, exhilarating climbing, or at least that’s the words bolder climbers than I would use. Still, despite being nervous, runout and suffering from rope drag, I hauled myself to the top and brought Jen and Justyna succesfully up to claim the climb.
By now Simon had romped up Curved Ridge, summited and was back at the car so, realising we’d be sometime, a quick texty message sent him merrily off to the Kingshouse for food and beer. We made our way over to Curved Ridge and began the delicate descent. No one seems to like downclimbing but it was immaculate rock and bone dry – we all made it in one piece. We finally got back to the cars some 11 hours after we’d set off – too late even for chips on the way home!