The easier first pitch
Last weekend (3rd and 4th of November) it was definately winter in the hills on the West. There seemed to have been a fair bit more snow here than over in the Cairngorms. On Saturday myself and Nona headed up the Ben with no fixed plan. The North Face was surprisingly quiet, with just one other pair of climbers who headed up Ledge Route I think. Everyone else must have headed to for the Northern Coires.
It was pretty hard going getting up in Coire na Ciste with lots of deep soft snow about. Given the conditions, we decided on a short route on Garadh Buttress. I had often looked at this little buttress, but had not climbed on it. I remember last winter reading that the central ramp line had been climbed, as had a route vaguely based round a summer V diff called Cryotherapy. We decided to have a look at doing a winter ascent of another V-diff further left called Vanishing Glories. I could not make out where the summer route went in it's lower half, the groove it climbs in the upper section was quite obvious. We took a natural left trending line into and up that groove. This give a nice little route of about grade V,6.
The second pitch. If Dafydd or Matt read this I would be interested to know if this is where you had climbed.
However, getting down that evening I had a look at Simon Richardson's website http://www.scottishwinter.com/?p=2668 to see what had been climbed last year. There seemed to be a fair bit of confusion about where Cryotherapy actually went, and what actually had been climbed last year. The route Crying Out Loud that Dafydd Morris and Matt Buchanan had climbed certainly seemed to be in the same area as where we had climbed. Had we climbed the same route. They graded their route IV,5. Had I been climbing that badly? or was it that deep powder made it feel harder that it would have done in better conditions? Going back to the guide book, I saw that the line we climbed could fit the description for either Vanishing Glories or Cryotherapy. Had we climbed the route that Dafydd and Matt climbed, are Cryotherapy and Vanishing Glories the same route, know knows. However, it was a nice day pottering about on the Ben.