Sharon, Mac and I had a great day in Coire na Saobhaidhe on Beinn Chuirn today. After walking in with the coire in cloud we got a view of the crags that revealed that the routes from the SMC Journal 2009 still had very large cornices over them. We’d walked in with the idea of doing a new route and this helped our decision. We climbed an excellent natural line on the left hand side of the coire, which gave an enthralling long first pitch followed by a shorter easy top out with no cornice issues. The usual grade discussions settled on IV,4, but we had pretty much perfect conditions with very well frozen turf and neve.
We then descended via the main central Grade I gully after passing the cornice with a lower/abseil from a snow bollard. The day felt like it needed a second route and an ice line on the lower tier below Silver Star caught the eye. This gave a circa 30m pitch on ice that required a delicate approach in places in current conditions. With good ice taking screws this would make a very pleasant direct start to Silver Star at III,4.
It’s worth noting that everything in this coire seems to be steeper than it looks from below, with both routes being at least a grade harder than we’d guessed and the approach slopes below the crag requiring respect and possibly an approach pitch or two.
An “awesome” day with no one else in the coire and book ended by pleasant stops in the Real Food Café as we’d parked in Tyndrum before walking in.