White Line & No. 3 Gully Buttress, Ben Nevis

Ken: Which route is on Ben Nevis, has 6 pitches of excellent ice climbing, lies to the right of Tower Ridge, is definitely not grade III, and is in great condition? The answer is the White Line, which is essentially a grade IV version of Orion Direct.

I’m up at the CIC Hut this week, running a five day course with fellow instructor, Niels. Despite a bitter start to the day, we took our respective teams; myself with Pete and Ivo, and Niels with Merrion and Graham, up the White Line and No. 3 Gully Buttress.

The first couple of icy pitches on The White Line were fairly brittle, but the climbing excellent and sustained at grade Iv. Thereafter, we continued up icy grooves and slabs up to the summit plateau.

Niels and his team climbed the first pitch of Diana, before traversing into No. 3 Gully Buttress.

Conditions on Ben Nevis are excellent, with teams enjoying brilliant ice all over the mountain. The weather cleared up as we descended Coire Leis, giving us great views up Observatory Gully and into Coire na Ciste.

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