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Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach


Postby 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: 1500m

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My first visit to Glen Coe was a big success. Not only did I tick off two more Munros, I also discovered another fantastic corner in Scotland, a place to come back many times. There's much more to this lovely spot than just the massacre story!
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!

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The Three Sisters are impressive. These steep rocky cliffs guard the access to Bidean nam Bian which hides right behind them:
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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.
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Looking back at the busy road:
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That's a helluva rock!
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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:
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The first good look at Aonach Eagach across the glen:
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The path continued up Coire nan Lochan on the eastern side of the stream, along some very lovely waterfalls:
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Stob Coire nan Lochan and its famous northern face peeking out from behind lower peaks:
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The path heading up to the "box canyon" with another waterfall:
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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:
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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:
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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...
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As we started climbing the western side of the ridge, we finally saw the peaks to the east of our mountain: the Buchailles...
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The path up the ridge: stony and eroded, but manageable :lol: .
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Views west towards Ballachulish and Loch Leven:
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The Ben and surrounding Nevis hills revealed... With the scary Aonach Eagach in the front.
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The Grey Corries in the distance:
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To the west, two Munros to do at some other day - Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill:
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I looked around me - and I knew that life was worth living, even if just for these short moments...
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The summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan - steep and craggy but not far now:
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At last, we saw our target hill: Bidean nam Bian showed up:
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One more glance back at the AE ridge and Ben Nevis behind:
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The route up the eastern side may be shorter but those who chose the faster way missed this:
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...and this...
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...not to mention this:
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I was overwhelmed by the surrounding scenery - and I simply couldn't resist taking another short break to make a movie:
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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 :? :?
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The final scramble towards the top of Stob Coire nan Lochan in dry weather presented no problem to us:
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The target was now just a stroll away:
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Looking south from the summit of Stob Coire nan Lochan towards Bidean nam Bian and the col between the two hills:
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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 :shock:
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The second Munro of our route:
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Beinn Fhada nad the Buchailles:
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Stob Coire nan Lochan from the slopes of Bidean nam Bian:
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Aonach Eagach and Ben Nevis:
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The final push to the summit:
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We reached the top of Bidean with big smiles on our faces :D :D 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:
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Happy Panther on the summit with some lovely views in the background:
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Time to go! Come on! - again I was quick to carry on walking :lol: :lol:
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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:
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Posing with Bidean:
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Just one more short push and we will be there!
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The first look down to Lost Valley - I absolutely loved its shape and symmetry:
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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.
The summit:
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View south-east along the ridge of Stob Coire Sgreamhach:
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Time to supply some water to my tired muscles :D
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Bidean nam Bian in afternoon shadows:
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One more glance across Glen Coe towards the Nevis range:
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Glen Etive:
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The Lost Valley:
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Looking along the ridge of Beinn Fhada:
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Buachaille Etive Beag and Buachaille Etive Mor behind it:
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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:
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The path follows the western side of the Lost Valley all the way to its opposite end:
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Lots of rocks and pebbles at the bottom of the valley:
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On the meandering path down to Glen Coe:
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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:
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We left Glen Coe after about 8 hours of climbing, descending, lurking, scrambling, bum-sliding and other mountain activities :lol: :lol: :lol: 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!
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby falcoholic » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:34 pm

What a great report and your photos are just fantastic.

Well done. You've inspired me to go and tackle some of Glen Coes finest.
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby Steve B » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:09 pm

Good report and you got the weather to go with it.
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.
Well done.
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby dooterbang » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:40 pm

Great hills these, a good intro into the area and also for those looking to try a hill for the first time.

Brilliant day for it.

You should try the AE ridge next......or back to these pair in winter :D
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 :shock:

Well done.
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby gagfax » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:44 pm

A good day out there and great weather. I did these in poor weather and never saw much. Must go back sometime.
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby mountain-ju-drop » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:51 pm

Great report - you take some fab photos.

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!!
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby soulminer » Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:26 pm

Glencoe is a fantastic place to roam about in, and you catured one side of it so well 8) Try the Aonach Eagach next and tell us what you think :lol:
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:59 pm

Thank you for all your kind comments, boys and girls :D :D As I had already written somewhere else on the forum, if my report inspires just one person to explore the hills - that is enough a prize for me!

soulminer wrote:Try the Aonach Eagach next and tell us what you think :lol:


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):
comp lostvalley.jpg
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby gammy leg walker » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:09 pm

Loved your report BP,did this walk a few weeks ago in much the same weather,must admit we took the eastern shoulder onto SCnL which had a wee scramble,which was great fun,if I can do the A&E you can also.
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby Del246 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:39 pm

Totally awesome pics !! Great report
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby Milesy » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:23 am

Nice report! The cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan are just awesome. Even better in winter 8) Last time I was up Stob Coire nan Lochan was this same way. 8)

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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby Bod » Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:19 am

As you say, 'Great fun, all in all'!!! Love the whole Bidean thing! Well done, lost track of time too on SCNL above the crags - a fantasticle place :D
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby andrewdoggett » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:23 pm

Great report with great pics; these two wee hills are on my list...

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...
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby Jabber » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:03 pm

Fantastic Report. I went up there recently with my daughter and we loved every minute of it. Has to be one of my favourite walks so far and I totally agree those butresses are something else. 8)
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Re: Glen Coe initiation: Bidean nam Bian & Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Postby kevsbald » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:23 pm

Just a poifect day.... :D
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