|Loch Tulla at sunrise (credit Sara Cockburn).|
Winter arrived to the Scottish hills midway through November, with conditions getting better and better as the weeks rolled in. A series of snowy north-westerlies and consistently cold air transformed the autumnal hills into their winter garb, with ice beginning to form pretty rapidly.
|Stob Ghabar (credit Sara Cockburn).|
At the start of November an over optimistic trip into Coire an Lochain with Scott G was rebutted at the Lochain, where we both arrived soaked to skin, the cliffs tantalizingly white. Alas it was to be later on in the month until the season kicked off for me. I met up with Jonny Livesey on the 24th of November and we arranged to go for a look at Noe Buttress high on Ben Cruachan. I was up walking with Sara and Lewis a week or so previous on Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich and was impressed with the grandness of the Cruachan range. That along with the enthusiastic reports of the route Tainted Elixir online and more importantly in Simon Richardson's 'Chasing the Ephemeral', we were convinced to go for a look.
|Lewis looking to Beinn Chochuill with the Cruachan range behind.|
|Gubbed. The Coire Chat walk in!|
|Jonny on P1 of Tainted Elixir.|
|Jonny doing battle with the initial tricky corner on Tainted Elixir.|
|Jonny at the steep cracked wall, Tainted Elixir.|
|A gub foo of jelly babies.|
|Lewis on the Aonach Eagach. A cracking day.|
|Beautiful light through Glencoe from the Aonach Eagach.|
|Looking to Bidean and SCNL from the Aonach Eagach.|
|The ridge in profile from the west.|
Seeing as Jonny got dibs on pitches last time round I elected to head off first so I could get a shot with the crux high on the route. The first pitch starts off pretty mellow with big turfy ledges which you step up before reaching a couple short steep cracked walls. The top wall gives you a wee warm up for things to come and you belay on the pedestal above.
|Jonny starting out over the inital slab on P2 of Crest Route.|
|Jonny entering the steep corner on P2 of Crest Route.|
|Someone's been doing their yoga!|
|Higher on P2 Crest Route, with the steep head wall of P3 above.|
Anyway, this is a top top route which can be climbed in a snowed up state and is pretty safe with superb climbing. Everyone should go do it.
|Ben Ime. Check out ktlphotog|