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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

First real winter walk

First real winter walk


Postby gary » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:37 am

Route description: Carn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Carn Mairg and Creag Mhor

Munros included on this walk: Carn Gorm, Carn Mairg, Creag Mhor (Meall na Aighean), Meall Garbh (Carn Mairg)

Date walked: 10/12/2011

Time taken: 8 hours

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I was keen to get out and try some winter walking and chose Glen Lyon, not realising how much snow there would be!
My friend Craig picked me up at 6.30 a.m and we arrived in the car park at Invervar not long after daylight, we were first there but joined by another two cars within five mins, the first was a guy on his own who we had a quick chat with before setting off and the other was a couple who arrived just as we were leaving. We were ready to go about 8.30, it was a lovely morning with very little cloud and not as cold as I had expected.
We set off through the gate and up the path towards the next gate which would not open so we climbed over the big stile. The path was quite boggy then we reached the next gate which opened, saving us another climb over the stile with two dogs. Soon after we left the wooded area and continued up the path which was more like a stream but it was much better than what was to come!
We arrived at the metal bridge with the path continuing up the side of the burn. Having read a number of other reports and quite a few mentioning the mistake of not crossing here, we promptly headed across and it was from here the snow really began to slow us down, it was very soft and I was sinking in up to my knees. This was the first time either Craig or I had walked in these conditions, it was far worse than I had expected and after about 200m we had to stop for a breather. The people that we had left behind in the car park had all passed us by now, thanking us for making a path, now it was their turn to lead the way and we followed on shortly after. The fact there was four people in front of me helped a lot and I was quite happy being the back marker but we were catching them quite quickly and had a feeling the man at the front would ask us lead again, when we caught up with them he did, we obliged and now height was being gained making it more difficult. Craig and I stayed out in front for most of the way to the summit although the snow was firming in places so we would have three decent steps then thud, back into the soft stuff for a bit :(
By the time we were nearing the summit the couple were almost directly behind us but the guy own his own was a fair bit back and we never saw him again.
We eventually made the summit but the views from the top were worth it, the best visibilty I have ever had so far but unfortunately I forgot my camera so I only have a few photos from my phone :( I was gutted.
We did not stay at the summit for long as it was very cold up there and quickly made our ascent from Carn Gorm towards Meall Garbh.
IMG_0078.JPG
Me on summit of Carn Gorm

The descent was quick and we did not have crampons so at times it was difficult and we would have preffered the softer snow for the steeper bits but it was solid so we just slid down on our backsides for a few bits. :)
We soon were on our way up Meall Garbh, the snow a bit firmer and not quite so deep so we made good time here and arrived at the same time as the other couple who we continued to walk the rest of the round with.
IMG_0076.JPG
Me looking as if I am asleep on Meall Garbh


It was the same as before, no stopping for long as it was very cold and we knew we were going to be short of time if we were going to do the four before dark. We followed the fence posts most of the way and I was starting to feel my legs now, we made it up the to the ridge and it still looked a fair bit to the summit but we plodded on and got the cairn which I believe to be the summit without to much of a struggle.
IMG_0063.JPG
Ruby and I at summit of Carn Mairg?


We started the descent and it was very steep so again we just slid down on our bottoms for the last bit! I noticed one of Rubys' paws bleeding and was in two minds whether to continue to Creag Mhor or descend to the car from here but Craig convinced me to keep going as Rubys' paw did not appear to be bothering her. The rest of the descent was in the soft snow and quite difficult as I was tiring a lot. Once it levelled out it was still as bad and the initial ascent the same. It felt like we were walking but not getting anywhere as the top of the ridge looked further with every step so we decided to head diagonally up to the summit and eventually we found harder ground which made the going a bit easier and the final summit was reached with much relief :D
IMG_0065.JPG
The final summit

Again we only stopped briefly, it was going to be dark soon and the weather was closing in. The other couple decided to head back almost the way we came for a bit but Craig and I decided to basiclly head in a straight line and ended up sliding down a few times again. The snow got deeper for a long part of the descent and it was as bad if not worse than on the approach to Carn Gorm. We finally made it to the top of a small forest plantation and found a track back along towards the path we had used on our way out. It was just getting dark and I was very very tired now, we arrived back at the car and by the time we got changed out of our gear the other couple were back. We had a final blether with them and were on our way.
I think if I had known how hard it was going to be I would have picked a shorter route and I am as sore now as I was when I did my first munro, here was me thinking it was going to get easier too.

Here are some of the better photos from my phone camera:

IMG_0059.JPG


IMG_0060.JPG


IMG_0062.JPG
gary
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:57 am

Good effort guys in the soft snow, at least you had other walkers out to take turns wading the snow. Lets hope for a cold spell to harden up all the soft snow thats on the hills at the moment :D
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Johnny Corbett
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby gary » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:42 am

Thanks JC, not sure if I will venture out again until I have crampons though, being a beginner I would imagine they would be pretty much necessary if we do get a cold spell firming the snow up?
Think we just managed to get away without them yesterday as it was so soft, although there was a few slippy bits.
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby Johnny Corbett » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:10 pm

gary wrote:Thanks JC, not sure if I will venture out again until I have crampons though, being a beginner I would imagine they would be pretty much necessary if we do get a cold spell firming the snow up?
Think we just managed to get away without them yesterday as it was so soft, although there was a few slippy bits.

would definately recommend crampons and ice axe for once the snow hardens and becomes icey
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Johnny Corbett
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby dooterbang » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:11 pm

Nice 1st winter walk guys.

Shame about the camera but you have the views lodged in your mind.

Next time i would take crampons/ice axe to be on the safe side.

Its certainly tough going when leading the way!

Well done - was a good day to be out yesterday.
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dooterbang
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby nathan79 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:39 pm

Not exactly a short stroll for your first real winter walk! :lol:

Looks like it was good fun though, i did it completely snow free and as with most hills a dusting of snow transforms it.
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby matt_18 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:23 pm

Good effort Gary (and Craig), i've been in two minds as to wether I should attempt a hill in the snow and came across your report, I was thinking about Mayar and Driesh tomorrow but I think I may wait till I have the correct gear after reading this!!
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby SusieThePensioner » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:09 pm

Good report Gary and some nice photos :D
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby rocket-ron » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:15 pm

well done
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Re: First real winter walk

Postby gary » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:50 pm

Thanks JC, thought that would be the case.

dooterbang wrote:Nice 1st winter walk guys.

Shame about the camera but you have the views lodged in your mind.

Next time i would take crampons/ice axe to be on the safe side.

Its certainly tough going when leading the way!

Well done - was a good day to be out yesterday.


I have yet to purchase crampons/ice axe so looks like I will have to postpone my munro bagging for a bit, might manage some sub 2000s with any luck. :(
Dont think we would have managed the whole round had there just been two of us, was so glad the other couple were there :D
It was a good day to be out right enough, glad we went.

nathan79 wrote:Not exactly a short stroll for your first real winter walk! :lol:

Looks like it was good fun though, i did it completely snow free and as with most hills a dusting of snow transforms it.

With the benefit of hindsight we probably would not have picked such a long route for our first right enough :)
Did enjoy it, especially the sliding down the hil part, was like a kid again :)
matt_18 wrote:Good effort Gary (and Craig), i've been in two minds as to wether I should attempt a hill in the snow and came across your report, I was thinking about Mayar and Driesh tomorrow but I think I may wait till I have the correct gear after reading this!!

I was up Mayar last Saturday mate, late start so no time for Driesh and there was not much snow but looking up the glens over the weekend and it seems like there is a lot more now so might be a wise choice to hang fire.
SusieThePensioner wrote:Good report Gary and some nice photos :D

I know Susie, little point having a camera if I am not going to take it with me! I was so annoyed with myself. There was plenty oppurtunity for good pics as we could see for miles.
rocket-ron wrote:well done

Thanks Rocket
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