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Saturday, 24 July 2010

28 - 30th May 2010 - Lochaber Scrambles

In late May a party of long suffering fathers managed to engineer permission from their ladies to embark on a short foray into Lochaber to tackle several of the areas scrambles. Photos and descriptions by Gavin Coppins of

28th May 2010
Evening ascent of Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. Setting off at 1730, the car park was deserted and the aim was to climb Curved Ridge and Crowberry Tower in time to return to the Glencoe campsite before dark.

Looking down the lower section of Curved Ridge. The ground is steep and fairly exposed but the holds were plentiful and good.

The crux move near the top of Curved Ridge. The move is enclosed in a corner so didn't feel too exposed.

The Rannoch Wall from the base of the crux move.

View south from the summit of Crowberry Tower across Glen Etive to Stob Ghabar in the background on the left and Stob Coir' an Albannaich on the right.

View across Loch Lhinnie to the hills of Ardgour (the target for the next day) from the summit of the Buachaille. The Ballachulish Bridge is in the centre of the photo.

29 May 2010
An early start and off to the Corran Ferry to Ardgour to climb Garbh Bheinn. The target was Pinnacle Ridge, a little known grade 3(s) scramble. There is a good description of the route at

View of Garbh Bheinn’s Pinnacle Ridge. It was raining fairly steadily and the cloud was closing in fast. We decided to walk up to the first pinnacle to have a look. This turned out to be the crux and was quite awkward. A rope and protection were welcome as a 30m section that ascends a series of exposed grooves and ledges felt harder than a scramble in the greasy conditions.

Caterpillar on the first pinnacle.

Towards the top of the ridge, the route narrows into a fabulous arĂȘte which is more akin to something on Skye. What makes this special is that there is hardly any sign of a worn route and there is first ascent feel about the place.

The final section of the arĂȘte. This groove is steep but easily climbed to reach the vegetated terrace above. After this the route wasn't so obvious and a large slab had to be ascended. Beyond a further narrow crest led to easy ground and the summit.

29 May 2010
After another sleepless night in a packed campsite in Glencoe, it was time to head home. En-route, we decided to tackle A’Chailleach which is a grade 3 scramble that can be used to extend a traverse of the Aonach Eagach ridge. The route begins from The Study in Glencoe. The lower sections offer really nice scrambling and major difficulties can be bypassed if the conditions are not great. The only major difficulty on the route is the orange rhyolite band near the top but again this can be bypassed.

Climbing the crux of the route – an amazing situation and definitely at the limit of what can be called a scramble.

See more photos at

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Gavin Coppins, 24/07/2010