Back to Logbook Archive for 2008 | Back to Home Page

Observatory Ridge Ben Nevis

Date: Sunday 28th September
Submitted by: George Carleton

On Sunday 28th September six intrepid climbers strode up the Alt a'Mhuilinn track towards the CIC hut in the hope of a dry day to tackle the North East Buttress VD, via Raeburn's aerate S.

On the approach the weather broke and the rain washed away our enthusiasm for anything which would require rock shoes so we decided on Observatory Buttress as a good wet weather alternative being VD from start to finish; though the wet rock, mist and cold made it feel hard for the grade.

I was climbing with Martin Bonner; we set off first on a fairly straightforward pitch. The next pitch offered "an interesting" section (climbers' code for hard) which had a well polished corner with all the friction of a pane of glass.

From there we moved right, up through a corner and through a V grove to a good belay. We were running the 60m rope out as far as we could between pitches which mostly worked well but on a few occasions resulted in very heavy rope drag. The climbing eased off a bit for the next few pitches but as the ridge narrowed we came to a short steeping grove with steep sides, I took the left side which offered a few delicate moves and quite a bit of exposure. After this the climbing was mostly straightforward except for one last difficult section near the top.

Overall an enjoyable climb, with lots of exposure and the wet rock making it feel much harder than VD in places.

Martin, PJ, Peter and I topped out around 5pm.

Anthony and Mike topped out around 8am the next morning, but that’s another story.

Photo of Route