The Wonderful Wizard

Jonathan Preston on the first ascent of The Wonderful Wizard (V,6) in Glen Coe. The steep No.2 Gully Buttress on the West Face of Aonach Dubh has seen three new winter routes so far this season and is proving to be an excellent mixed climbing venue when the freezing levels are low. (Photo John Lyall)

Three days before making the first winter ascents of Rose Late and Oz with Andy Nisbet (see,  John Lyall and Jonathan Preston visited No.2 Gully Buttress on Aonach Dubh on December 4 and made the first ascent of The Wonderful Wizard (V,6). This lies at the right end of the crag and follows a series cracks, chimneys and grooves.

No. 2 Gully Buttress lies between Dinner-time Buttress and B Buttress on the West Face of Aonach Dubh. “Despite No.2 Gully Buttress being given an altitude of 520m in the Glen Coe guide, it is much higher than this and quite recessed so collects snow when temperatures are low enough,” Andy Nisbet explained to me. “It has a number of big steep vegetated grooves which give good winter lines. They don’t seem to ice up so only cold [and a little snow] is needed. The two most obvious lines are situated either side of the clean rock pillar of Rose Innominate (HVS). On the left is The God Daughter (VI,7) and on the right is Oz (VII,7), although the guidebook gets them the wrong way round!”

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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