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I’ve climbed my share of routes in Glencoe, often in the more popular areas such as Stob Coire nan Lochan so today I was keen to head towards Bidean nam Bian to sample one of its fine offerings. Ken and Scott have both climbed here before so we picked Direct Route (V,6) – something a little less travelled. It was soon clear as Ken led us up the first pitch the route was not in great condition, a few random patches of turf were frozen but the majority of it needs allot more time. Ken managed to make slow but steady progress with little in the way of descent gear or placements to arrive on the first belay of the day. We decided to leave the guidebook with the bags and so I led off the belay on a traverse left into a steep unprotected grove that finished at a dead end. I just had to keep on going as there was no way I could reverse the moves on such sketchy placements. After allot of digging I found a rattly hex and retreated with my tail between my legs. Straight up might go – but again the route condition wasn’t doing me any favours. Ironically Mike Pescod comments in his Cicerone guidebook – ‘A solid coating of snow/ice is essential for this route’ – he isn’t wrong……We ditched the route and made a beeline toward the West Top and climbed the deep chimney line of Closer (IV,5). Again not in great condition but it gave us something for our efforts. Didn’t see a single person all day, I will certainly be back to this superb crag.

Ken on the first pitch of Direct Route - unconsolidated snow and unfrozen turf made for a bold lead

Ken on the first pitch of Direct Route – unconsolidated snow and unfrozen turf made for a bold lead

Scott & ken following up Closer

Scott & ken following up Closer

A fun route but again needs allot more consolidation

A fun route but again needs allot more consolidation

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Scott enjoying the top pitch

Scott enjoying the top pitch

Ken following

Ken following

Obligatory summit shot

Obligatory summit shot