A good start to the new year

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Ross and I had already endured one harsh failed day last week due to weather and we were determined not to let it happen again.

So yesterday we headed back out to Lochnagar to tick the first route in the corrie for Ross for 2011 that he’s been looking to do in an effort to further his winter climbing experience.
Conditions were fantastic underfoot and we weren’t disappointed with the climbing either.  We had a feeling that may be the case form the walk in as most of the paths (and drive up Glen Muick) were covered in ice.  The corrie has a good covering of ice and solid neve as the recent thaw freeze cycle had done its job.
Central Buttress was the climb of choice providing Ross with a good introduction to buttress climbing in Lochnagar.  After a brisk walk in and drop down from the col we made our way up the lower slopes to get kitted up.
The long snow slope.
An initial steep section provided a small taste of what was to come followed by an easier snow slop for thirty metres.  Following this we continued up the route every trending right towards the crest of the buttress.  The presence of increasing winds howling through the boulders meant we were close enough!
Stowing the gear whilst negotiating the boulders.

Making the ascent towards the col on Central Buttress II/III*.
The higher pitches before the col pitch gave Ross some challenging manoeuvres round large boulders and up technical corners.  Most of the cracks are filled with ice from what i could see but there were a number of them still either partly clear or just clear enough to take rock runners.
Ross removing the warthog.

The verglass corner hight up on Central Buttress.
After the col we made for the top and a bite to eat.  Success!
I was glad to see so many other groups out on the hill as the corrie seemed to be brimming with activity and a flow of climbers and walkers gave some interesting watching as they slipped on the ice approach and dotted about like ants.