Continuing yesterday’s theme of squeezing into tight spaces, Hannah and I had a rare day off together, and so ventured up to the brilliant Church Door Buttress on Bidean nam Bian, to look at Flake Route. Whilst the approach feels long, we took a couple of hours from the car park to the foot of the route, just next to the esoteric and truly subterranean Crypt Route. Flake Route by comparison is quite ‘en plein air’.
The route moves straight into a deep and narrow slot (but not quite as narrow as The Clanger which I climbed yesterday), so we decided that leaving the packs at the foot of the buttress was a wise move. Gaining the crack was fairly straight forward, although making progress, at times, once established in the body width chimney, was a bit tricky (yet secure), with plenty of body wedging and arm barring, along with useless foot pedalling, as some of the snow was quite unconsolidated. From just beyond the exit of the slot, Hannah took over, and led a fairly straight forward pitch to converge with West Chimney, which Steve & Dot and Mike with his two clients were enjoying themselves on. Steve was grateful that the tunnel pitch on West Chimney is no longer!
A number of routes all finish up Raeburn’s Chimney, which probably forms the crux of Flake Route, just, so we all moved efficiently to minimise hold-ups. It turns out we weren’t the only ones enjoying Bidean today, a number of top end climbers were also trying some harder lines, which didn’t finish up Raeburn’s Chimney.