James Roddie has been exploring the crags of Glen Coe for a couple of years now, often as bold solo outings. His latest adventure was on Monday December 5, when he made the first ascent of Number 3 Gully Rib (II/III) on the West Face of Aonach Dubh. James takes up the story:
“Given the westerly winds, I knew that a buttress route on a West face would be likely to give good climbing and frozen turf, so I headed up underneath B Buttress on the West face of Aonach Dubh. It’s a rarely visited area of Glencoe in the winter, void of crampon scratches and still with potential for more new routes. I’d been up a summer route here before a few times but I couldn’t find any record of it as a winter route so I thought it well worthwhile a look.
At the base of The Pinnacle Face you break right at the level of the Middle Ledge onto a rib running up the left hand side of Number 3 Gully. There was plenty of fresh powder around but lots of frozen turf. I took the rib as directly as possible, with a few awkward moves on the steeper sections as the rock type doesn’t give many cracks or great hooks. I climbed a final narrow chimney and topped out to the Upper Rake just as very heavy snow started to fall. The traverse across the top of Number 2 Gully, to escape the face, was quite spicy on soft snow.”