/ North face route of Buachaille
North face route of Buachaille etive mor's North buttress....
I am climb at around vdiff, agags groove has been my most adventurous climb to date, I found it straight forward bar one move which had me hesitating for a few minutes. Am keen to try pushing on a little.
I see the North face route is graded at severe. The second traverse looks pretty exposed and awesome... anyone know are the holds on that traverse nice and 'juggy' or is it somewhat more challenging than that!? I am wary to stepping up a level and being out of my depth and getting caught out. At some stage I would like to push on safely through the grades, thought this route could be the one. Thanks in advance.
I did it just recently. It's no harder than Agag's technically but the protection is not so plentiful. It's really VDiff climbing but you need the confidence to do the moves without full protection.
It felt quite alpine to me, which means you need to be very comfortable at the technical grade. All the pitches have a similar difficulty.
Also the line suffers from drainage in places. The bold sections feel a grade harder, if they are damp. Wait 2-3 days after rain at this time of year. Ranoch wall is quite a bit faster drying.
Hi Damo, in addition to the above, I'd add that routefinding mid way is somewhat open to interpretation.
How about Raeburn's Arete (Severe) on Ben Nevis, a cracking route giving about 6 pitches of climbing. Pretty chilled for a big mountain route, generally really good rock and you can descend by walking off, with care, from the First Platform of North east Buttress.
Done Agags twice and NF about four times, both most recently in last two years.
NF harder than Agags but also better in some respects. On Agags all the climbing difficulty is concentrated in a very short section at the crux (although I suppose pitch one has tricky climbing too but doesn't feel so committed).
On NF Route there are several sections of difficulty, a couple of which may feel quite bold and one strenuous (I'm deliberately not wanting to be too specific and spoil it for you) but NF route never feels as exposed as it looks in places.
On Agags there is little value hauling up your rucksack as descent is short and reasonably straightforward back to the base of the route, . On NF Route I think it makes sense to carry the sacks up and over the summit as the descent is so long. You may be able to descend Heather ledge back to the traverse pitch but it's 30 years since I'd have done this and you'll have to do your own research or be advised by a more recent visitor.
I'd also finish over Stob Dearg from Agags as I don't enjoy the descent of the lower bit of CR any more.
Reaburn's is a terrible suggestion in my view: I felt stretched on it route-finding wise at times in pretty bold positions as a solid and very experienced VS leader (it's a great route and I'd highly recommend to newish VS leaders going well or experienced severe leaders). North Buttress is a bit bold again not great for a first severe. The obvious choice to me is January Jigsaw, technically harder but more straightforward and protectable..
Recess Route on the Cobbler is a good severe. Great line and good gear where you need it... Mica shist so needs a dry spell though!
For other Severe routes on the Buachaille, I'd highly recommend Shackle Route. It's a great route straight up a vertical crack, so route finding is straightforward and should be plenty gear (though I can't recall absolutely on that). There's also January Jigsaw which does require a bit more care with route finding, but is very well travelled (follow the polish!).
I'll answer your question straight:
> are the holds on that traverse nice and 'juggy'
No, they are not.
or is it somewhat more challenging than that!?
only a bit, mainly because of the aforementioned, and protection is limited.
to be honest AG is an excellent route, and I wouldn't worry too much about trying to better it - just get out and climb stuff.
but if you want a next multi-pitch to go for my recommendation would be this one: Sou'wester Slabs (VD)
I did NFR last week, for the first time for 15 years. I thought the second last pitch was really excellent, in a great position on superb rock. It's not as well traveled as Agag', but the description in Gary Latter book is accurate. The protection is adequate, although not as plentiful as on AG. The first two pitches are very straightforward. If you find them okay, push on you'll be fine. If not, ab off heather ledge. As noted above, take your rucksack with you, and descend by Curved Ridge.
ignore comment - got mixed it mixed up wit another route.
stand by my recommendation for Sou wester slabs tho
Are you sure you were on the right route?
I would recommend staying with the crest rather than the wee traverse. Protection spaced in places but quite simple for the grade, in the dry and in rock shoes.
Edit: Agree wholeheartedly with January Jigsaw, suggested elsewhere for variety - which is really good for development.
Absolutely sure. The climb is relatively technically easy for the grade, maybe more so in perfect weather but thats rare up there, but it's big and its bold in places. It's not a sandbag as such but recommending such a route for someone who has done one much shorter multipitch mountain VD is just daft IMHO.
I did Raeburns Arete (S) last summer and it was good fun. It's surprisingly long feeling but I remember the route finding being straightforward - follow the arete and your nose!
Back to BEM, I do remember January Jigsaw (Summer) (S) being an excellent climb. My second forgot his rock boots and did it in Mantas with no great problems, and he was a relative beginner.
> North face route of Buachaille etive mor's North buttress....
I'd say that, if dry, North Face route is an easy Severe - but you need to be a little careful with routefinding.
It is not on North Buttress, though - it's the opposite side of Curved Ridge and Crowberry Ridge from that!
North Buttress is a lovely top-end scramble, or DIff if you tackle the upper chimneys head-on.
Thanks all for your thoughts and advice. Good to read different viewpoints, its all so subjective i guess, but really helps add to my route choosing. Which i find hard. January jigsaw was next on my short list to be fair. On the balance of opinions, including my own, I think I might go for it first and tackle North face route (central buttress, whoops) later in the summer.
Will definitely check out the other routes mentioned as well, Rich I'll maybe sign off the summer with a trip up to Nevis.
For a great long v-diff on the Ben, look no further than Observatory Ridge.
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