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Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions


Postby grey-heron » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:27 pm

Anyone been up Ben Vorlich in the last week or so? My sister and I are planning to go on New Year's Day and just wondering what the snow cover's like now that we've had so much warm weather. Thanks.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby prog99 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:17 pm

Snow free 2 days ago.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:32 am

grey-heron wrote:Anyone been up Ben Vorlich in the last week or so? My sister and I are planning to go on New Year's Day and just wondering what the snow cover's like now that we've had so much warm weather. Thanks.

Was up yesterday (30 Dec). Not entirely snow-free but in practical terms it was. Went from Ardvorlich for a change (I'm generally more of an Edinample man) and followed the main path to the Stuc cutoff at about 650m. Turned R here and did a little loop I've done a few times: angled up into the nice hanging corrie between the N and NW ridges. Walked through a 20-yard snow patch here but just for fun - could easily have avoided it. Then up on to the NW ridge at about 900m and so to the top. There was another small patch near the cairn just beyond the summit but again nothing of significance. Came down the main path which had no snow on it.

Couldn't see across to Stuc, too cloudy, but I was absolutely fine on Vorlich wearing Mudclaws - had an axe but left it in the car. Big change from the previous weekend when it was a big boots and crampons job on some of the Lawers Munros. At the end yesterday I met a man walking down the road carrying an axe, but didn't ask him whether he'd used it anywhere.

Conditions supposed to stay mild over the next couple of days so it should stay largely snowless - although it's always worth bearing in mind that the trade route to Vorlich is a straight N ridge and ices up readily high up. Brighter/colder come Wednesday, thank goodness.

Have a good time.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby prog99 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:10 pm

The Stuc had around 20m of unavoidable snow.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:27 pm

prog99 wrote:The Stuc had around 20m of unavoidable snow.

Was that on the buttress route? There's a little slabby gully about a third of the way up, just before the easiest line starts zigzagging to the R, and that can retain old firm snow at an awkward angle. The main R-hand avoiding gully - leading to the NW shoulder of Stuc in ascent - acquires an impressive saggy cornice in late-winter/spring as you'll probably have seen (I've seen people walking up the gully directly below this, a bit worrying), but it's not an early-season feature. The L-hand avoiding gully (round to the east side) is as steep as the buttress itself and can look very serious in winter, but it seems to have gone out of fashion as a sneaking-round route anyway. They can be an awkward pair of hills to connect in proper winter conditions - there's no easy way to avoid steep snow if heading for Stuc from Vorlich without a massive outflanking move to the R, although the grassy/outcroppy rib just to the right of the R-hand gully can be a useful option in terms of avoiding the cornice.

It's not very much like that just now, anyway!
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby grey-heron » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:46 pm

Thanks for the info, it was very helpful. We went up New Year's Day last year in very different conditions and just made it to the start of the ridge before turning back.

2018-01-01_068.jpg


This year we made it a lot further, but frustratingly, still not to the summit (although we were so, so close) due to a an attack of vertigo at 905m that hit first my sister and then me. So after wrestling with ourselves a bit, we came down again :( And now I'm very cross with myself! Being a mountain lover with acrophobia is very annoying.

2019-01-01_040.jpg


I was in any case very frustrated to be stuck in the shadow the whole walk whilst the sun was clearly strutting its stuff on the south side of the mountain, so we're considering another attack approaching from Edinample. What's the final section like that way?
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby Sgurr » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:33 pm

Hi grey-heron. Was that you eye-balling me this morning?

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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby Dave Hewitt » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:54 pm

grey-heron wrote:we're considering another attack approaching from Edinample. What's the final section like that way?

Less steep, but also just a small path - nothing like the great eroded highway heading up the standard route. Much more pleasant, I'd say. It's steepish but definitely less steep than the top 100m of the Ardvorlich route. Much better chance of seeing wildlife eg ptarmigan too. The NW ridge joins the main ridge a few minutes below the top, but it's all pretty broad and fingers crossed you won't get hit with any vertigo.

If starting from Edinample (which used to be more popular than now), it's a bit fiddly in terms of navigation through the lower and middle sections, but all the more interesting for it. You can also easily reach the upper part of the NW ridge via the Ardvorlich path - just follow this to the cutoff for Stuc at about 650m, go sideways for a bit and in due course you meet the NW ridge. Climbing the two Munros together from Edinample makes much more sense than doing the standard thing of starting from Ardvorlich - it's a bit weird that Ardvorlich has become the standard start given that Stuc is away round the back of Vorlich from there, whereas from Edinample the hills are about the same distance away.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby prog99 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:28 am

Glen Artney approach is nice (if longish). I suspect your vertigo will prevent you from adding on Stuc a Chron & Beinn Each though which is a lovely circuit.

I've descended the Stuc down Coire Fhuadaraich a number of times, didn't think of it as an approach to Vorlich. Theres space for a few sensibly parked cars at the north end of the vehicle track.
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Re: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) conditions

Postby grey-heron » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:52 pm

Yes, would love to do Stuc but the mention of scrambling did rather put me off! I managed the scrambly bit on Meall nan Tarmachan and also the Ptarmigan ridge approach to Ben Lomond, both of which gave me the collywobbles (particularly the moment when I dropped my water bottle off on Meall nan Tarmachan and watched it plop its way down the side of the mountain!) but I did manage to overcome it. So maybe there's hope someday!

Thanks for the suggestions, will look at both of those for the future. But probably something else for our next hike!
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