Shelf Route

3* Climbing to Ourselves: Shelf Route

It’s been another stunning winters day in the Scottish Highlands, with clear skies and cold temperatures. When it’s like this, there’s no where else I would rather be. I was out with one of my favourite regulars, Nick. Favourite because he has always brought with him good weather and great climbing conditions, and today was no different.

Nick doesn’t mind a bit of adventure and so with the forecast looking great and with it being the start of half-term week, we decided to pick a route that was hopefully going to be away from the crowds, and Shelf Route on Buachaille Etive Mor seemed like it might fit the bill. As we drove through Glencoe this morning, most of the car parks were filling up fast, and the one for the Buachaille was no different, but despite this, we saw very few folk on the approach. By the time we reached the foot of Crowberry Gully, it was clear that we were at least the first team to head for Shelf Route. Perfect.

Shelf Route

Looking up the first chimney of Shelf Route

 

Shelf Route

The route ahead

Shelf Route

Looking back down

The route is quite long, and largely consists of short, steep chimneys interspersed with easier sections. There’s fun to be had on every pitch, particularly the final crux, which is a bit more sustained than the chimneys before it. We were largely sheltered from the wind, but Nick didn’t appreciate the spindrift picking up just as he was ‘in the zone’ on the final pitch. The route thoroughly deserves three stars, it’s an excellent route and very atmospheric.

Crowberry Tower

Crowberry Tower

Plenty of teams on Curved Ridge and we could see a steady stream of folk heading up to North Buttress.

 

Buachaille Etive Mor

Views from the summit

Hannah and Lucy were out with a returning group from Essex, who are on their second attempt at summiting the three national peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdown) in one weekend, in winter. They will be heading south now, starting the night shift. All the best to them.

Lou was out with Steven, who is keen to reach the summit of the local Munros via mountaineering routes. Today, they tackled Ledge Route to get to the summit of Ben Nevis.

Finally, Tom was out with Jan and Ariana, on the first of their two day winter skills course. They had a look at core winter skills on Aonach Mor.

It’s great to see so many folk making the most of the great wintry conditions we have right now. Long may it last!

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