Page 33 - 2016 AMA Autumn
P. 33

                                 Nutcracker (II/III*), Stob Coire nam Beith, Glencoe 3
  A highly enjoyable but barely known low-grade ice route tucked away behind a ship’s prow buttress in a corrie filled with great classics. Though quite short, this route is steep enough to make it a good step up from (for example) Forked Gully on Stob Coire nan Lochan. If you want to start leading grade III, this could be a good route to ease you in. In good conditions Nutcracker will consist of a narrow ribbon of ice running down the right-hand side of a gully, with the steepest section feeling more like grade III. Climbing North-West
Gully as a prelude makes this a superb day covering several hundred metres of high- quality ground. On a day when Deep-Cut Chimney or SC Gully have queues, Nutcracker will almost certainly be empty. Conditions – if SC Gully is in condition then Nutcracker could be a good bet. Can be badly affected by the sun during late- season. The whole corrie is quite avalanche prone so choose a day with good snow conditions.
Further reference – SMC New Routes 2010
Eskimo Gully (II/III*), Lurcher’s Crag, Cairngorms
  Pioneer Gully (III*), Creag Coire an-t Slugain, Glen Shiel
During the busiest periods the Northern Corries can sometimes become a bit of a circus. Lurcher’s Crag is usually quieter and provides numerous ice and mixed routes of good length, and although the walk-in is longer it still doesn’t take long. This west-facing crag is also regularly a good option if the Northern Corries are buried in powder. Eskimo Gully provides a good alternative to the two classic grade III gullies on the crag, and it sits amongst several other worthwhile but unfrequented
routes. A groove leads through the slabs at the base of the crag and is followed by a steep ice pitch, after which an easier gully above gives you the option for several different exits.Conditions – requires a good cold spell. A useful option for days when west-facing slopes are safest. Usually not in condition later in the season and prone to damage from sunshine.
Further reference – SMC New Routes 2008
  Many people only really think of the Forcan Ridge when it comes to winter climbing in Glen Shiel, but the glen actually contains a wide range of high-quality routes. It’s a great base for a low/mid-grade climbing trip. Coire an-t Slugain is one of the best corries – usually empty and a good place for climbing several routes in a day. Pioneer Gully is good fun, close to the road and a suitable route as first grade III. Three ice steps and steep snow lead to a minor bifurcation – taking the left option leads into an icy groove which gives access to a blunt snow arête and an exit through
a small cornice. The views into Knoydart from the top are staggering so it’s worthwhile saving this route for a good day. Conditions – Glen Shiel tends to get a lot of snow, so Pioneer Gully might easily be in condition when routes at a similar altitude/ aspect in other glens have succumbed to a thaw. Low avalanche risk on north to east-facing slopes essential for a safe approach/descent.
Further reference – SMC Northern Highlands South (2007)
Archie’s Ridge (III,4*), Aonach Dubh West face, Glencoe
  A significant step up in terms of seriousness from the other routes listed, Archie’s Ridge is found in a rarely visited area of the intimidating West Face of Aonach Dubh. Climbing here is always an adventure due to the committing and very steep nature of the face. Apart from on Dinnertime Buttress, or when the highly desired ice routes are in condition, you’ll almost always be alone. This route is a good option during a hard freeze or on a wild day with easterly winds, so long as fresh snow isn’t being deposited on the face. A long traverse from the right of the face across the Upper Rake makes for a serious approach – but it’s the most straightforward way to get to the buttress. Archie’s Ridge is found on the left
side of the buttress and begins with a short groove, above which the route narrows and steepens. Enjoyable climbing up steep blocky ground suddenly brings you to an unexpected pinnacle. The move around this and across the gap on the other side forms the memorable crux of the route, after which another groove and some scrambling leads to easy ground. Conditions – needs a hard freeze for the turf to be in condition. Often good during early season. Avoid when west-facing slopes are avalanche prone. Sheltered on a day of strong easterlies but be aware of the top out and descent.
Further reference – SMC New Routes 2010

   31   32   33   34   35