/ Routes on the Ben

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Alastair Cochran - on 05 Feb 2013
Up to Glen Nevis YHA this coming weekend..for four days...Looking through the guide book...if conditions allow.....Raeburn's easy route 11*** looks interesting, not heard it mentioned much, does anyone have experience on it? We are going to have a go at castle ridge.......as a prelude to Tower ridge, wonder what the gullies are looking like.Alastair
Jamie B - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to Alastair Cochran:

Make sure you do Raeburn's with a competent second - it's got a long traverse on snow without much/any protection. Fairly easy but serious. The bit at the left of Cascade can give a good pitch of grade II/III ice before it banks out (may have done so already), but I'd say that there were better easy routes on the mountain.

Castle Ridge is as technical as Tower Ridge, probably III,4. Tends to be quite rocky in nature.
drmarten on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Alastair Cochran:
Watch for cornicing at the top of the routes, I found Raeburns Easy Route to be anything but easy when I got within 3m of the top.
thedatastream on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Alastair Cochran: I've done Raeburns in a melty state and the traverse was sketchy but in good conditions it would be easy. Sparse gear from memory but steady going. As mentioned above there are some nice ice pitches near the top if they don't get banked out. Take a couple of screws with you, they might come in handy. Also the route starts higher than you think ;)
Offwidth - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

I found Castle Ridge a lot harder than Tower Ridge when under powder (rather than the much rarer neve). For the former the moves up to gain the 'crux' chimney can be bold, delicate and super exposed (the chimney is safe and OK). For the later the crux can be being patient with slow parties ahead and incompetant muppets soloing past.

I agree the Ben suffers from paucity of reliable easier routes, Raeburns, Number 3 Gully and Ledge Route are better than most but all need care at times. CMD arete would count but it's a big day. By the time you are climbing III there are more oprions as in a few places you can climb up at this grade and before the top come down a I and so avoid cornices and avalanche prone slopes.
mcdweeb - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Alastair Cochran:
Raeburns Easy can be very difficult to find when the cloud is below the summit (ie most of the time) and you don't know the Ben well.
Mr Fuller on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to thedatastream: Agreed. Raeburn's Easy Route felt pretty hard last year when I tried it during a thaw. No gear in 50 m across a traverse and no belay at the top of the first pitch! I was out with two novices so chose to reverse it all rather than belay off a very crappy buried axe - not fun. I got a few screws in but they were for comedy value only.

I'd also second the thing about Castle Ridge being tough under powder - I did it recently and found the bit to get into the chimney pretty desperate (mantle onto a powdery featureless slab) and the top of the route was quite time consuming.

If the gullies are okay avalanche-wise, I thought North Gully (II) was excellent, and Number 2 Gully (II) very good, though a notch harder as we had trouble finding any rock gear at all.
m dunn - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to Alastair Cochran)
>
> The bit at the left of Cascade can give a good pitch of grade II/III ice before it banks out (may have done so already), but I'd say that there were better easy routes on the mountain.
>
> Yes, it's pretty banked out. Team of three on short rope despatched it without pitching on Saturday. Cornice OK but may be different by now ...
cannichoutdoors - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Jamie B: If you go for Raeburn's, I would recommend at least one Deadman.

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