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Buachaille Etive Mor via Curved Ridge - 50th & 51st munros
by jwramsay » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:24 pm
Route description: Buachaille Etive Mor
Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor)
Date walked: 24/07/2011
Time taken: 11 hours
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 1300m33 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Did I mention the weather was ideal?
A final look at the majesty of this fine hill before starting out:
I'd read so much about the Curved Ridge route, not least the Walk Highland's "Idiot's Guide to the curved ridge", and having watched the HeadCammer Production's DVD which clearly shows the route knew which was I'd be going at the fork in the path!
This is the fork in the path. Left for curved ridge, right for the tourist route:
From memory, the route taken up Stob Dearg, the gap near the top is where the route goes behind the Crowberry tower:
You gain a lot of height before even getting to the scree bit! Devil's staircase with Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg behind:
Watch out for the water slab, where you follow the cream coloured scree until the curved ridge begins:
A look back down the scree slope - fair old height up and not even on the ridge yet!
I was doing this climb on my own but just after the scrambly bit behind the water slab, met two rock Jocks - Michael and Mhorag from Arran who offered to accompany me to the Rannoch Wall. This offer was most welcome, and we headed up the curved ridge Michael leading, me in the middle and Mhorag bringing up the rear. Michael put my mind at ease by offering the assitance of roping up if the exposure got too much. It was great to follow someone who'd done the route many times. The actual scrambling was really great fun. The rock is amazing and I hardly ever had any difficulty locating suitable handholds and footholds. I really liked the fact that there were many natural breaks in the curved ridge where our party of 3 could take off our back packs and have a drink, take a photograph or some video, or in Michael's case roll a cigarette and borrow my handy £1 shop lighter.
There was a young family in front of us all roped up - middle aged mum,3 young kids and dad bringing up the rear, who we managed to pass just before the Rannoch Wall, so the ridge seems plenty wide.
The roped up family:
Michael and Mhorag leave me to go and climb Rannoch Wall:
End of the first section, start of Rannoch Wall:
Spurred on by the confidence that Michael and Mhorag (thanks guys if you read this) had given me, I was off on my own up the steeper section of the curved ridge, I found myself using my knees now too to get up the sections. In fact, as I type this walk report 2 days later, I have numerous grazes on my skins and a few bruises and small cuts onthe inside of my upper arms. I never felt these at the time, I guess the adrenelyn at the time took care of that!
I was amazed at how quickly you ascend, as I left the base of Rannoch Wall far behind, in no time at all, I was level with the topmost rock Jock on the wall. Another group of 3 guys passed me at this point and I followed them until I hit a point where I didn't know where to go. The rock in front was too hight for me to pull myself up, there were no good footholds or handholds - I almost started to panic! However, I kept calm, as I knew there was no way that I could actually afford to panic! I knew that the roped up family were coming up from behind me, which gave me a lot of comfort too. Very quickly, I realized the correct route was a shimmy to the right hand side of a few feet, from where there were the great hand and foot holds, and I was scrambling up again. In no time at all, the route started to level off, so was more walking than scrambling and there was a largish plateau, from where I could afford to take the backpack off, get the camera and camcorder out and take in the sights! You have unobstructed views over Rannoch Moor, and due to the great visibility, I could clearly make out the "pointy fellow" that is Schiehallion. I watched and listened to the Rock Jocks having fun climbing up the Rannoch Wall, after all, they were now below me!
Looking up the curved ridge to Crowberry tower:
Rannoch Wall with Rock Jocks:
I could them hear the roped up family approach, so started to think about where the route went from here. Due to the wonders of modern technology and the fact that I had 3G reception all the way up the curved ridge, I double checked the Idiots Guide on the Walkhighlands website from this plateau and realised that I was indeed at the end of the curved ridge.
The highly polished rocks of the curved ridge with the top of the Rannoch Wall behind:
The curved ridge endeth here:
The groups of guys who I'd tried to keep up with, I'd seen them take an obvious path that went round the front of the Crowberry Tower, upwards in the direction of to the right. This seemed to tie in with the Idiot's Guide which suggested that insteas of following the scee to the left side, you head right towards the Crowberry Tower. By this time the roped up family had caught up with me and after some discussion they decided to head up the scree and I took the path to the right up the front of Crowberry Tower.
Not long into this, I met the Rock Jocks walking over from their completed ascent of The Rannoch Wall. One politely enquired as to "where was I going"? When I said the summit, he ushered me back to the scree part instead. A big thankyou guys!!
I then waited on the family clearing the scree, as there was a lot of debris being disloged and then followed them up. Now it became clear what the Idiots Guide meant! You have the choice of following the scree all the way to the left and then hitting the path to the summit, or there is the obvious shelter from the exposure seen to the right hand side here, but going up the passage at the BACK or the Crowberry Tower!
So in no time at all, the familty were taking a rest at the gap, from where I took a Family photograph for them. Whence they headed up left towards the summit I could get my camera and camcorder out again and take some footage of the Crowberry gap and then the Crowberry Tower from above. It isn't far from here until the summit is reached, and what a buzz it gives when you get there!
View of Ben Nevis and the mamores from the summit of Stob Dearg:
Closeup of Ben Nevis and the CMD Arete to Carn Mor Dearg:
View down Glencoe to the Ballachulish Bridge:
Beinn Bhuide and Creise:
View over the Blackwater reservoir:
View back to the fork, the car park, the devil's staircase and Ben Nevis and The Mamores:
A drink and a bite to eat and then its off on the long slog down over to the second munro at the far end of the ridge. Annoyingly, to reach this munro there is a larger munro top of Stob Dearg to climb and descend. At least on the way back, this is bypassed as you drop down the well formed path into the Lairig Gartain and the easly walk back to the A82 layby.
Halfway along the ridge on the munro top of Stob Dearg lookiing back at the nice red Stob Dearg:
And from that same halfway point looking towards the 1997 promotion to munro status of Stob na Broige:
View over the beallach on the wee Buckle, of The Mamores and The Ben:
View down Glen Etive to Ben Starav with Ben Cruachan behind:
Back at the car, 11 hours after leaving it. Nice 10pm shot of the barely sunlit Stob Dearg:
Knowing I had a long summers day, I'd been taking my time and soaking up the amazing 360 degree views, and I arrived back at the car just before 10pm after 11 hours on the go. Stob Dearg was looking magnificent with his upper half bathed in that lovely orangely light that you get at the end of the day.
Munros 50 and 51 bagged and Stob Dearg bagged via the famous curved ridge route, I was well chuffed with myself.
Part 1 off 3 - The curved Ridge!
Part 2 off 3 - The summit of Stob Dhearg is reached. Ridge walk to Stob Na Broige at the back of Buachaille Etive Mor + photos
Part 3 off 3 - The Remainder of the photos - along the ridge from Stob Dearg to Stob na Broige and drop down into Lairig Gartain
And here is the link to Houdi's "Idiot's Guide to the Curved Ridge" as mentioned:
our_route.gpx Open full screen NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts
by LeithySuburbs » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:06 pm
by Border Reiver » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:14 pm
by Holly » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:57 pm
by tomyboy73 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:03 am
by Vick1 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:24 pm
by Steve B » Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:03 pm
by jwramsay » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:21 pm
I decided to check out the Curved Ridge. When you get 1/2 way up and your companions (Mhorag & Michael) say it's just more of the same, your confidence grows and after all it's easier to go up than down!
If I can do it, anyone can do it! And think of those 3 roped up bairns!!
by jwramsay » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:14 am
Thanks for the "Great Walk" votes guys.
by jwramsay » Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:06 pm
gagfax wrote:Cracking video, i felt a bit uneasy every time you pointed the camera over the edge
I know, I was too scared to look but could afford to let the camcorder at arms length have a peak!
last thing I wanted to do up there was freeze.
by foggieclimber » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:05 pm
I have only done the start of Curved Ridge en-route to do Agag's Groove on Rannoch Wall.
I need to go back to do the whole of it sometime.
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by lomondwalkers » Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:09 pm
by blethers » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:02 am
- Munro compleatist
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by Gable Gable End » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:08 pm