New Routeing on Beinn Fhada in Glen Coe

The Summit Buttress of Beinn Fhada in Glen Coe showing the lines of The Rhyme (red) and Last Orders (blue). James Roddie made first ascents of these two well defined Grade II/III mixed routes on February 19. (Photo James Roddie)

Over the last month James Roddie has made a few solo trips to the unfrequented West face of Beinn Fhada in Glen Coe.

“On February 3 I explored the North-East top of the West face, and found an unrecorded rib about the same length as Micro Rib in Coire nan Lochan,” James told me. “Continuing the insect-based theme of route names on the North-East top, The Gnat (III) seemed appropriate. After downclimbing a snow-gully I moved over to the Summit Buttress, and the crest that forms the Western flank of The Ramp gave a pleasant turfy Grade II that I called The Rampart.

Far more fruitful however was my trip to the Summit Buttress on February 19. A few weeks back on Bidean nam Bian I’d seen through my binoculars a pair of narrow buttresses on the right hand side of the Summit Buttress. They definitely weren’t recorded but I decided to go and see if they were worthwhile.

Identifying features from below is quite a challenge on West face, and it was definitely the case with these two buttresses. But after some exploring I managed to find them, and from below they revealed their true nature – far more distinct and more worthy of attention than they appeared from neighbouring summits.

I chose the right hand buttress first. The route started with a short, steep wall and an awkward narrow corner. After this easier turfy ledges moved up to a second wall that I climbed via a small chimney on the right hand side, though the entire wall looked inviting and of similar difficulty at Grade III. Easier ground led to the ridge crest. I called this right-hand buttress The Rhyme (II/III).

After descending a gully I climbed the steeper left-hand buttress. Similar to The Rhyme, an initial steep wall was followed by turfy ledges – though on the first wall on this route I had a bit of a fright when my left axe ripped out from behind a small chockstone during an awkward move. The crux on this second route was very enjoyable – I climbed a slanting crack up a steep rock wall with quality hooks, and this delivered me to the easier ground above. This steeper route was of slightly higher quality to the first, and I called it Last Orders (II/III).”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
This entry was posted in New Routes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.