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Wee bit blowy at Dalmally!

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:35 am
by fipriestley
Set off just after 6am, starting to wonder if my hobbies are beginning to clash... out clubbing til 2am isn't the best prep for a day in the hills :lol: :lol:

Light rain when we arrived at the start, but there were sunny intervals expected today :shock: Another report warned of higher winds though :?
Beinn Eunaich from starting point

Quite a long trek along a landrover track to reach the hills, but nice views on the way and all was still calm :)
lots of friendly cows
looking back, hint of sunshine!

Once off the track the climb up the hill soon became through patches of snow and later on, ice. Even as the snow became more compact, being at the back of a small group I had the luxury of a ready-made staircase so no need for crampons... and the sun made an appearance :)
snow staircase
sunny interval!
little did I know how wild it would be up there!
climbing Beinn a'Chochuill looking across to Beinn Eunaich

Further up Beinn a'Chochuill the ground became much more slippery and steep so I brought out the ice axe. More for peace of mind to start with, but as the wind picked up and it was harder to get a grip with each step I adopted a strange walk using the ice axe to give me an anchor point with each step :lol:

Beinn a'Chochuill summit reached (maps and GPS checked just to make sure as visibility was poor by now) we quickly moved back to retrace steps and head for the next summit. I usually find I'm faster on the descent than the climb, but this one had me still walking like I had a zimmer frame :shock: Once back down out of the fierce winds, time for a lunch stop.. and I was happy to push onwards and upwards.

I felt the climb up Beinn Eunaich was better than the first ascent - my legs were coping well, there were less icy patches needing the funny ice axe waddle, and the wind was behind us. Some rocks near the top to climb over, then the cairn seemed to be right there, almost as soon as the climb was over :) However, the winds that had blown us up the hill were now making it almost impossible to stand! To retrace steps for the descent would have meant pushing in to the wind, so we carried on to complete the loop... while the ground wasn't quite so icy, there were several times where I just couldn't stand up. A couple of times we all lay down against the snowy rocks, to give the wind a few minutes to die down a bit. Mostly though, while others staggered on, I did lots of crawling and bum-shuffling over the rocks to try to keep moving forward and get out the wind sooner :crazy:

As we came down there were a couple of bigger snow patches. By now I was further behind and still finding it difficult to get a grip with my feet - so more ice axe sliding for me :o :) Put the ice axes away as we got below the snow line, but the steep boggy ground meant there were a few more slides to come :lol:
steep final descent

Must practice putting on crampons - had them with me on this trip but was hard enough coping with the wind so I didn't stop to try putting them on (for the first time ever!). Oh, and the goggles that are still on my shopping list!!.. there were brief moments of rain, hail and snow, but it was the bits of grit blowing around while I was crawling that really made me think I could have done with a pair! :roll:

Overall, another great adventure! :D

Re: Wee bit blowy at Dalmally!

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:42 am
by pollyh33
Great report Fi :D

Still got these two hills to enjoy but ironically haven't done them because of high winds.

Yes yes yes to goggles! Not only do they stop you getting all fuzzy with the glare from the snow, they keep everything out of your eyes including killer whiplash from your hair!!!!

Microspikes would be pretty good in the conditions you had and they are very easy to put on :D