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Thursday 27th 01 2011 10:53:43 PM

Pictures and words by Andy Main

Fuselage gully

Flushed with the success of Slioch and recuperated after a rest day sitting in front of the fire we headed for the big one, Beinn Eighe and Callums first winter climbing route Fuselage Gully. Starting off in the false dawn light we made reasonable progress up to the saddle of Coire Dub More.

The gain in height again brought deep snow and with no trail broken we floundered taking longer than we should to circumvent the ridge of Sail Mhor. We finally arrived in Corie Mhic Fhearchair to be greeted with stupendous site of triple butters cover with snow and haloed by a golden winter light. At this point we had taken 5 hours for a 3 hour walk in and we starting to worry about timing, but our objective was in site and a fast pace over the frozen loch brought us to the initial slopes below the triple buttress.

Again deep snows hinder progress but we got up to an exposed boulder below the gully entrance and geared up. We were both a little nervous about the snow condition so I showed call how dug a pit and assessed snow conditions which were relatively safe. We then headed into the maw of the gully and soloed the first easy slopes, Calum doing well with the exposure after the encounter with slioch.

We reached the bend and the steepening slopes convinced us to rope up and simil climb. Continuing this way we coved the majority of the 400m gully until reaching the fuselage, this bit of history imbedded its self in the mountain 1951, when a Lancaster bomber flying solely on instruments struck the top of the Triple Buttress. It still very much there and provides a few meters of interest in an otherwise easy snow gully. I lead through and belayed Cal up with a minimum of fuss.

The gully was then again simil climbed to the top and celebratory sandwiches were had just as the first hints of dusk were arriving.

We had celebrated prematurely though and I made a mistake in descending to soon leading Call down the steep slopes of Conneach Mhor. I had thought after the gully the snow slopes would offer a quick way down the hill but in contrast with enclosed atmosphere of the gully, the south face of Beinn Eighe made cal a little uncomfortable. After some encouragement we made it to the easy slopes just as true darkness hit and limped back to the car after an eventful 12 hour day and an easy gully.

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