With strong winds forecast again Kiernan, Louisa and I stayed low down in 999 on the west side of Gear Aonach. There is a lot of snow in the gully which takes the narrow line to the right of the steep buttress in the picture above. Despite this there is plenty of great climbing around many big chockstones.
The turf is very mushy at this low altitude but you do not need to rely in it to do the climb. Most of it is on solid rock and snow. This route is given III in the current guidebooks but IV,5 is closer to the mark and it's worth a couple of stars. The wind was not so strong when we got to the top and it turned out to be a bright day. After a quick descent of Rescue Team Gully we were back at the van before 3pm with time to do some dry tooling under Ballachulish Bridge.
Tuesday 4th February 2014
Even NE Buttress is so buried in snow that there is very little climbing on it. There is lots of wading and digging for protection but really only the Mantrap is difficult climbing. Even the 40' Corner is steady away but with no protection.
It was calm on top and just below freezing. We even had a clear spell on the descent and good views of the crags. There is a sizeable cornice above the descent into Coire Leis, Number Two Gully has a monster cornice at the top and Number Four Gully has a big one too. Ridges and Buttresses are still the best option but The Shroud looks fat now and a bit more blue.