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Left Hand Buttresses


This is the large, relatively easy angled slabby face bounding the left hand side of McPherson Cirque. The Winter routes on this face are less exposed to objective danger than those in other parts of the Cirque.
The slabby pyramid shaped face between Midnight Cowboy and the Homer Saddle gives good climbing in both Summer and Winter, just pick a line and make it as hard or easy as you want. Worth considering for a shorter day.


Easy access via the normal McPherson Cirque Approach. Best descent is down Talbot's Ladder

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Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 Home Turf, 4,II 4,II 190m

Fun wee turf route best when conditions are thin. Joins Midnight Cowboy about
1/3-1/2 height. Pitches 1-2 can be avoided by scrambling to tussock ledge at
the base of pitch 3 (see topo). Finish as for MC, or scramble down MC and rap
to ledge (2x 60m ropes) and descend access route. Gear is generally medium
wires, hexes and cams to size 1 if not too icy. Knifeblade pitons are handy.

  1. Bridging up the gully right of original start to Midnight Cowboy. Average
    gear. 40m
  2. Solo or easy pitch up tussock ramp tending left to reach ledge at base of
    obvious corner system. 60m
  3. Up obvious corner to cave. Pull up out of roof (height is an advantage
    here) to a belay. Good gear. 50m
  4. Climb above belay to strenuous undercling traverse right and into an
    awesome turf groove. Climb turf and exit at the top of the natural line to
    easy tussock ramp on Midnight Cowboy. Good gear. 40m

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 4
  • Alpine (Commitment) II
  • 190m
  • Trad

 Midnight Cowboy, 2,III 2,III 700m

A long moderate route up the crest of the buttress to the left of the obvious
gully of Coumshingaun. Has alternative starts and finishes. A good choice if
conditions elsewhere in the Cirque are dubious.
Start up the icy groove just right of the centre of the base of the buttress,
heading for the snowfield, or make an ascending rightwards traverse across
the snowfield via an easy ramp on the left. Head for a block on the edge of
the buttress, overlooking Coumshingaun. Climb up through the rock band.
Continue on up the steepening crest of the ridge for a few rope lengths, then
through another rock band to a small saddle below the top rock pyramid, pitch
as required. Depending on conditions, either climb the difficult rock step on
the ridge, and follow steep snow to the top of Talbot's Ladder, or, if there
is sufficient snow and ice, traverse left to belay at the foot of a wide
groove, which is climbed to a belay among blocks and flakes below a steep
wall.Move leftwards round the edge, then a long exposed traverse leads to
Talbot's Ladder a short distance below the top.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 2
  • Alpine (Commitment) III
  • 700m
  • Trad

 Coumshingaun, 3,III 3,III 600m

A classic traditional style route, with a varying number of ice pitches,
taking the obvious curving gully. Excellent climbing and situations, often
more difficult than it might appear from below due to powder snow in the
steep middle section. If this is the case it may be easier to climb the
slabby rocks to the left of the groove, and traverse back into the gully once
it lies back again. There is a choice of exits at the top, but staying in the
main gully is recommended.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 3
  • Alpine (Commitment) III
  • 600m
  • Trad

 Homer Face

  • P1
  • Trad

Take the big pillar out of the Macpherson Cirque finishing just above Talbot's Ladder. A long grassy route.

 The Key, 4,III 4,III

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 4
  • Alpine (Commitment) III

Starts up the access gully to the upper McPherson Cirque. Continue up the gully past another pitch of moderate climbing to a snowfield. Continue to the top of the snowfiled and climb the right-most icefall. Climb steepening ice to more moderate ground, tending rightward under the buttress. Stay true to the line (might be possible to escape further out right) and follow a shallow corner to the rolling snow field near the top. Continue to the ridge and descend the Ladder.

Topo by Al Walker, updated by Jaz Morris