Wave Buttress, Steall Meadows Crags, Glen Nevis

Driving to the very far end of Glen Nevis you find an idyllic spot at the foot of The Ben, somewhat surprisingly with neither “no overnight parking” signs nor an encampment of large French motorhomes. Great place to park up.

This is the start point of a well travelled tourist path through the gorge and into Steall Meadows for fabulous views of the falls there.

From the start of the path you can also just about make out Wave Buttress, high on the hillside above the meadows (not sure if this sign is meant for walkers or climbers ;-))

Wave Buttress is home to Edgehog, one of the routes featured in Extreme Rock (and one of the few that I could realistically have a go at, but haven’t yet). It takes an absolutely stunning line up a knife-sharp arête at the right hand end of the crag.

We made the very pleasant walk up to the crag and decided to get a feel for the rock, warming up on Bewsey Crack, which was very good but felt really hard for HVS.

Not very encouraging, so I decided on another warm up before the main event (though the day and I were actually both quite warm enough!) Teenoso takes the corner right of Edgehog – a bit grassy and dirty at the moment but would be a pleasant VS when clean. More importantly, the abseil offers a closer view of Edgehog and a look at the potential gear (the guide says there’s more than seems likely, looking from below. Just as well!) …

Warning: Beta alert – The crux is around half height, moving up past what’s described as a “flange” in the guide; more like an inverted flared notch on the left of the arête which takes a smallish cam (blue/yellow offset Camalot felt good – it would need to be as beneath that are a couple of RPs and an okay small wire quite a way down) and then provides a handhold for a layback move, padding up on smears for a long reach to a flake. A decent small wire here protects more goey-feeling laybackery to a good break, bomber gear and an easing of tensions before a romp to the top.

Really chuffed to have done this – it had been on my wish list for decades and took a fair bit of psyching, as smeary moves above gear aren’t my favourite! E4 6a in Extreme Rock / E3 5c in the latest guide; **** in anyone’s book! To make matters even better, we bumped into Andy Nelson of Infinity Mountain Guides who asked if it would be OK for him to take pictures – hence the brilliant shots below. Thanks Andy!

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