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Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers


Postby agrubb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:10 pm

Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers

Date walked: 30/12/2011

Time taken: 6.5 hours

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Myself and fellow WH member Ewa were keen to see off the year with a final Munro or two and the 30th of December seemed to have a forecast which would provide a small window of opportunity to do so. The morning was supposed to be better with conditions worsening in the afternoon so we planned a walk that we thought we could complete the majority of in the morning, soaking in the views, and then quickly make our way back.

Our two choices were Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers or Meall Corranaich and Meall a'Choire Leith and figured we would assess the conditions when we got there. This was exactly what we did as we approached the parking area for Ben Lawers the road was very icy and with the car sliding around only just making it up the hill, we thought it would be unwise to continue any further. Also, a return back along the way we came may be a better option than a circuit if visibility worsened.

Beinn Glas and Ben Lawers it was to be then which as ever turned out to be a popular walk for many people today. As we set off at 08:00 there was a group of 4 or 5 ahead as well as another pair and one other. To begin with the weather was matching the forecast, it was relatively clear and we were treated to a nice sunrise and views of Loch Tay.
1 Sunrise.JPG
2 Loch Tay.JPG


As we climbed Beinn Ghlas, sadly the clouds came in lower and earlier than forecast and we were soon heading into the mist :(
3 Beinn Ghlas.JPG
4 Looking Back.JPG


We marched on hoping the clouds would maybe clear, if even for a moment, but no such luck at the Summit of Beinn Ghlas:(
5 Summit of Beinn Ghlas.JPG


Other than the clouds, conditions were grand so again we continued on to Ben Lawers and about half way down the descent there was a small break in the clouds and Ben Lawers made himself known to us :D
6 Ben Lawers.JPG
7 Invervar Munros.JPG


With a renewed sense of enthusiasm we began our ascent of Ben Lawers. This was slow going as although we had our ice axes we did not have any form of spikes on our feet and the steps were completely iced over. However, we made it to the summit where there was also the group that started ahead of us and another group of 3 that had overtaken us just recently. Unfortunately again, there were no views to be had...this just wasn't meant to be our day!
8 Ewa at Summit of Ben Lawers.JPG
9 Summit of Ben Lawers.JPG


One of the groups continued on and can only assume they were bagging An Stuc as well! Me and Ewa decided that we wouldn't have enough time to bag this as well and complete the walk in daylight so we figured it would be best to save it for another day, perhaps combine it with Meall Greigh and Meall Garbh in summer! And thank goodness that was our decision as while the conditions were miraculously still at the summit, as soon as we began our descent the wind picked up and blizzards came in.
10 Descending Ben Lawers.JPG


The conditions were horrendous and we slowly made our way down the icy path of Ben Lawers. About halfway down someone raced past in their microspikes and this was the point I decided they were a must if we were to continue winter walking since neither of us have crampon compatible boots! There were still quite a lot of people heading towards Ben Lawers which I was surprised at as if the conditions were like this on our ascent I don't think we would have continued. Hopefully the group that presumably continued on to An Stuc made it back safe and sound :? Still, we battled on through the blizzards over Beinn Ghlas (although we later realised we could have taken a route around it!) and at this point people were starting to turn back and we were soon coming down in our droves! I knew that Ben Lawers was popular but didn't think there would be so many walkers at this time of year. Honestly, it looked like the end of a school trip! :lol:

One benefit of the newly laid snow was that it gave us a bit more grip, although the other side of the coin was that it concealed the ice and I would be lying if I said there weren't any slips on the way down. One particular slip sticks in my memory where Ewa slipped behind me and cleanly took me out as well :lol:
11 Returning Back.JPG


The snow had one last challenge for us which was getting the car out which had now been covered. With a helpful push from Ewa we were on our way. This day basically summed up Munro bagging for me (although the conditions were the worst we had endured to date) generally cloudy but when you get the views you remember why you do it! :D
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby mountain thyme » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:56 pm

well done..cracking first pic
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby agrubb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:55 pm

mountain thyme wrote:well done..cracking first pic


Cheers mountain thyme :)
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby Fudgie » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:33 pm

I fancy doing these two quite soon and knowing my luck I'll probably have similar views to yourself :D :(
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby davetherave » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:51 pm

agrubb,

Bet you are well happy with your effort. Im sure those two still make for a tough winters day in the hills.

As for the micro spikes i would forget them until you get proper crampons, especially if your in to the bigger hills in winter. You say your boots are not compatible.... Im pretty sure you will get away with a flexible strap on crampon, its well worth looking into.

Dave
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby EwaMH » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:39 pm

.
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Re: Battling Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Postby agrubb » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:52 pm

Fudgie wrote:I fancy doing these two quite soon and knowing my luck I'll probably have similar views to yourself :D :(


Ha Ha aint it the way....hopefully you will get bright blue skies!

davetherave wrote:agrubb,

Bet you are well happy with your effort. Im sure those two still make for a tough winters day in the hills.

As for the micro spikes i would forget them until you get proper crampons, especially if your in to the bigger hills in winter. You say your boots are not compatible.... Im pretty sure you will get away with a flexible strap on crampon, its well worth looking into.

Dave


Thanks for the advice Dave but I may have been a bit hasty and have already got micro spikes. They served me well on Ben Vrackie, although it is a smaller hill it was quite icy and Very Windy! But I will keep your advice in mind if I need anything a bit toothier!

Cheers.
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