Masa and Yuki Sakano visited Binnein Shuas on February 16, and had an excellent mountaineering day following the crest of the North-West Ridge. Their ascent linked together three short routes with walking sections imbetweeen. The foot of the lowest buttresses is at the altitude of 560m, and near the summit, there are two tiers of the Summit North-West Buttress. Although this may not be a conventional Scottish winter route, and lacks the commitment of a longer climb on a big cliff, it demonstrates a novel approach when many of the higher peaks have been out of bounds due to the recent heavy snow conditions.
Location, Location, Location (55m III, 4) begins at the recess at the foot of the lowest buttress a few metres left of a cave, climbs a turfy and icy groove, and then follows steep grooves to the top of the buttress. Laggan Fantasy (30m IV,5) starts below the centre of the lower tier of the Summit North-West Buttress, and climbs rocky steps for a few metres, followed by the steep thinly-iced groove in the centre of the buttress. Summit North-West Buttress (40m II) climbs the most obvious zig-zag snow line at the centre of the upper tier to finish on the summit ridge about 80m West of the summit.
“As you know, Binnein Shuas is a very eye-catching hill from A86,” Masa told me. “I’m jolly glad we made it, but conditions must be now gone, at least for the lowest part, as it has warmed up since. Yuki is my sister, who lives in Japan, but is now visiting me for a couple of weeks. We’re going to Patagonia in a few days time, so this year’s stormy Scottish weather has turned out to be ideal training…”