Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach
by BlackPanther » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:47 pm
Route description: Bidean nam Bian
Munros included on this walk: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Date walked: 30/07/2011
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 11.7 km
Ascent: 1500m19 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).
After completing the Ring of Steall I became very ambitious and started looking for more demanding routes. Initially Bidean nam Bian seemed too steep and too intimidating but I still wanted to give it a go.
On the way down from Inverness we got caught in slow traffic a couple of times. Oh, how I hate crawling at 30 mph in an endless line of buses and caravans! Fort William was quite jammed and we felt relieved when eventually we arrived in Glen Coe at about 11am. We were late, but we still had enough time to tackle Bidean... and maybe its lower neighbour, too!
The Three Sisters are impressive. These steep rocky cliffs guard the access to Bidean nam Bian which hides right behind them:
The main car park by the helipad was full but we managed to park at the smaller one just opposite the path leading up into Coire nan Lochan. We took this path and quickly gained height.
Looking back at the busy road:
That's a helluva rock!
The path was steep but well-constructed - it felt a bit like climbing a never ending staircase. Nevertheless, the views were superb and we quickly forgot about traffic jams and clogged-up roads...
The peak of Stob Coire nan Lochan ahead of us:
The first good look at Aonach Eagach across the glen:
The path continued up Coire nan Lochan on the eastern side of the stream, along some very lovely waterfalls:
Stob Coire nan Lochan and its famous northern face peeking out from behind lower peaks:
The path heading up to the "box canyon" with another waterfall:
We passed the waterfall, scrambling on the rocks to the left of it - nothing difficult though, just a couple of places where one needs to use hands. Great fun, all in all:
Soon we arrived at more level ground, the beautiful corrie below the vertical cliffs of South Buttresses, guarding the northen side of Stob Coire nan Lochan. It's a unique place, green grass and blue water of three small lochans contrasting with the majestic, grey pinnacles:
We spotted other walkers heading up the eastern shoulder of Stob Coire nan Lochan (the shortest way to the hill summit) but we decided to stick to the original WH route and headed west. We walked just below the mighty buttresses - an unforgettable experience. I felt dwarfed by these big, shadowy rocks...
As we started climbing the western side of the ridge, we finally saw the peaks to the east of our mountain: the Buchailles...
The path up the ridge: stony and eroded, but manageable .
Views west towards Ballachulish and Loch Leven:
The Ben and surrounding Nevis hills revealed... With the scary Aonach Eagach in the front.
The Grey Corries in the distance:
To the west, two Munros to do at some other day - Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill:
I looked around me - and I knew that life was worth living, even if just for these short moments...
The summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan - steep and craggy but not far now:
At last, we saw our target hill: Bidean nam Bian showed up:
One more glance back at the AE ridge and Ben Nevis behind:
The route up the eastern side may be shorter but those who chose the faster way missed this:
...not to mention this:
I was overwhelmed by the surrounding scenery - and I simply couldn't resist taking another short break to make a movie:
We spent a lot of time lurking around the tops of the buttresses, looking down steep chimneys and vertical drops. Not a place for anybody suffering from vertigo
The final scramble towards the top of Stob Coire nan Lochan in dry weather presented no problem to us:
The target was now just a stroll away:
Looking south from the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan towards Bidean nam Bian and the col between the two hills:
I clicked a few photos and was eager to continue down to the col but to my surprise, Kevin firmly protested:
"Oh, no no, my darling. Enough is enough! I'm not going anywhere."
"What???" I almost lost my balance "But this is not the Munro top..."
"I know, I know, but look at your watch, it's two o'clock and definitely time for lunch. I'm not going any further with an empty stomach!"
So, we had a look into our sandwich boxes and fished out some grub. To justify my husband, we really lost the sense of time exploring the tops of the cliffs. Luckily there was still enough daylight left to complete the traverse and enjoy it to the full.
As soon as we finished lunch, we walked down to the bealach between the two mountains. The final climb to the summit of Bidean looked steep and painfull
The second Munro of our route:
Beinn Fhada nad the Buchailles:
Stob Coire nan Lochan from the slopes of Bidean nam Bian:
Aonach Eagach and Ben Nevis:
The final push to the summit:
We reached the top of Bidean with big smiles on our faces We met another walker and chatted for a while, he said he was camping with some friends down in Lost Valley. Fantastic idea, I must admit, maybe we'll do it as well some time.
Looking west along the ridge of Bidean nam Bian:
Happy Panther on the summit with some lovely views in the background:
Time to go! Come on! - again I was quick to carry on walking
Stob Coire Sgreamhach didn't look too steep and the route along the ridge joining the two Munros turned out to be a pleasant experience:
Posing with Bidean:
Just one more short push and we will be there!
The first look down to Lost Valley - I absolutely loved its shape and symmetry:
Soon we reached the top of our second Munro of the day. It was about 4pm and mountains looked even more stunning in afternoon sun... The summit cairn is situated at the end of a narrow ridge with big drop down to the Lost Valley side.
View south-east along the ridge of Stob Coire Sgreamhach:
Time to supply some water to my tired muscles
Bidean nam Bian in afternoon shadows:
One more glance across Glen Coe towards the Nevis range:
The Lost Valley:
Looking along the ridge of Beinn Fhada:
Buachaille Etive Beag and Buachaille Etive Mor behind it:
After enjoying another break on the summit we eventually walked down to Bealach Dearg. I was a bit worried about the descent down the very eroded gully, but it was just about all right - would be a nightmare in wet weather though:
The path follows the western side of the Lost Valley all the way to its opposite end:
Lots of rocks and pebbles at the bottom of the valley:
On the meandering path down to Glen Coe:
The final descent provided some more easy scrambling over big boulders and when we finally arrived down in the Glen Coe Pass, the view of our car parked just a few hundred meters away was a welcoming sight.
The last minutes spent among steep buttresses:
We left Glen Coe after about 8 hours of climbing, descending, lurking, scrambling, bum-sliding and other mountain activities Simply a fantastic day and I can't wait till another opportunity arises to come back to this beautiful place and explore it some more. Meow!
by falcoholic » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:34 pm
Well done. You've inspired me to go and tackle some of Glen Coes finest.
by Steve B » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:09 pm
I abandoned an attempt on these 2 a few winters back, the ridge between SCnL and BnB just looked too dodgy under a tremendous amount of snow.
Thanks for the shot at the top of the gully into the valley. This seems about OK.
by dooterbang » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:40 pm
Brilliant day for it.
You should try the AE ridge next......or back to these pair in winter
If doing in winter the descent from the bealach into the lost valley is a no no at times due to cornices, i got caught out with this and had to reascend everything
by mountain-ju-drop » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:51 pm
We did our first hills in Glen Coe last week and are looking forward to more so very interested in your report, think I might be more scaredy than you tho!!
by soulminer » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:26 pm
- Posts: 804
- Joined: Mar 18, 2010
- Location: Johnstone
by BlackPanther » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:59 pm
soulminer wrote:Try the Aonach Eagach next and tell us what you think
Well... I'm not so sure I'm ready for that yet...Will certainly try it at some point but I need to build up some more courage.
Again I did some research in Kev's albums and found how the Lost Valley looked about 10 years ago (photo on the left):
by gammy leg walker » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:09 pm
by Del246 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:39 pm
by Milesy » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:23 am
- Posts: 1519
- Joined: Jun 12, 2009
- Location: Airdrieland.
by Bod » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:19 am
by andrewdoggett » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:23 pm
When I furst started the munros long before I ever knew what they were I made the summit of SCnL and only later realised it wasn't a munro... Still had the dogs, and they struggled up the South Eastern Ridge over the boulders etc...
by Jabber » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:03 pm
by kevsbald » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:23 pm
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