Base Jump Buttress

Huw Scott climbing the initial groove of Base Jump Buttress (IV,5) on Sgurr Dearg in Skye. This section of cliff was previously unclimbed in either summer or winter but had been the location for several base jumps. (Photo Mike Lates)

Nathan Adam, Huw Scott and Mike Lates made the first ascent of Base Jump Buttress (IV,5) in Coire na Banachdaich on Sgurr Dearg in the Cuillin in December 10. Nathan takes up the story:

“Huw and I had a wee nosey at the north east facing crag on Garbh Bheinn on Friday but got chased off with mushy conditions so we knew that the next day we’d have to go higher. Mike joined us for the day, and we enjoyed a lovely sunrise walk up the West Ridge of Sgurr Dearg and dropped down to have a look around the cliffs.

Sadly, our original targets were out of condition but a crag covered in rime and with some inviting looking grooves drew us further up the hillside. It turned out this was a crag which some folk had base jumped from which seemed insane as there isn’t much vertical relief! We found a groove line cutting the middle of the crag and Huw took us up this for a pitch of excellent sustained climbing that was more about the feet than axe placements. I probed out left towards a fine hanging corner under Mike’s pressure, but ground to a halt where the crack disappeared so I went right up the edge of a fine slab before some short steep steps up two chimney faults led to the top of the crag and sunshine.

We drove back through Glen Shiel on December 11 to visit Druim Shionnach. Garry Campbell joined us too. The cliff is in great condition right now with bomber turf and ice free cracks. We were intent on Argentine Lemon, but I misread the description and climbed Macavity instead which turned out to have great sustained climbing up grooves and chimneys, worth two stars at least for the upper chimney. Probably the second ascent and hopefully will get some more attention now the new SMC Winter Climbs West guidebook is out.”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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