North Buttress - West Route (Winter)
We were a group of three, a guide and two clients. While climbing the North Buttress in reasonable winter condition, on the belay stance of pitch 3 the guide unclipped the lanyard of the other client thinking it was his own. Not until he set off did he realise the mistake, so for a short period the client was unprotected. The ledge was cramped and covered in stacked double ropes, the lanyards were clipped onto a threaded sling at low level, added to this the carabiners of the guide and client were the same make and model.
Exact walk route as described on page 71 of 'Classic Walks' book (Diadem Books Ltd, Second impression May 1986, ISBN 0-906371-11-2)
We were a well equipped fellwalking club, in good weather, ages 45-67. We had done the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge walk as described in 'Classic Walks' (page 71). The descent from Stob na Broige is then described in just one sentence, i.e. 'The descent to Allchaorunn is a long, steep mile'. In addition, there is a sketch map that points to a little bridge at NN198513 so we took a bearing, heading towards Allchaorunn and estimated 2 hours down to the road. The upper section is fine steep walking but in the bottom 1000-ft we encountered small crags: taking no chances, we circumnavigated these but then found another line of small crags. It took us over an hour to probe , left and right, to find a non-climbing route passed these two/three sets of crags. Fortunately, we had the time, good weather and energy to find a safe walking route down reaching the road 8 hours after starting from NN220520.