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Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:51 am
by Redrock

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The Munros I have still to climb are getting further away from the central belt - so it was up early and a long drive up the A9 then along Glen Spean so that I could tackle Stob Coire Sgriodain and Chno Dearg on what I hoped would be a fine winter's day. The forecast was good and I was hopeful of excellent conditions - but I have been disappointed before! :lol: I set off from the fine wee hamlet of Fersit at about 9:30am.

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Leaving Fresit


There was a group of walkers, also from Fife, set off about the same time as me - and I was to cross paths with them a few times on my journey. Going east through Fersit, I was soon out on the open moor and I could see Sron na Garbh-bheinne, my route to the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain, rising up to the south.

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Sron na Garbh-bheinne


I made steady progress over the partly frozen boggy landscape (but not quite frozen enough to take my weight! :lol:) Soon I was looking up at the imposing prow of Sron na Garbh-bheinne. I was getting close to 600 metres and the snow beds were getting more extensive. It looked like I would soon have to tackle snow on the climb onto the ridge! I headed for the gully just to the left of centre which seemed a likely way up!

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Towards the ridge


To the west there were great views of the Easains.

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The Easains Ridge


Behind me Creag Meagaidh stood out boldly in the clear air.

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Creag Meagaidh


Heading up the gully, I soon discovered that there was a fair build up of snow at its head. I decided to cut a few steps with the ice axe across a narrow section on the east side and then I scrambled up the bank onto easier ground above. The other group of walkers donned crampons at the foot of the snow and made their way up the steep bank.

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Climbing the gully


Soon I had the crampons on myself as it became easier to use the snow slopes as my route onto the ridge. The snow was an ideal consistency - firm enough to take my weight but yielding enough for a good grip with the crampons (very different to my experience on Sgiath Chuil the previous week! :D ). Higher up I came across some fresh boot prints (and maybe a dog's paw prints) which suggested there might be less icy ways up!

The ground became progressively whiter as I approached the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain. The sunshine was glorious! :D

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Towards the summit of Stob Coire Sgriodain


The summit proved to be an amazing place and I lingered there a while.

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At the summit - Stob Coire Sgriodain


Loch Treig lay far below beyond a tumble of broken boulders.

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Loch Treig


The twin peaks of Stob Coire Easain and Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin rose up proudly to the west.

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Stob Coire Easain and Stob a' Choire Mheadhoin


Beinn a' Chlachair and its partners looked impressive to the north-east.

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Beinn a' Chlachair


Whilst Chno Dearg - my next Munro of the day - looked a much gentler hill to the east.

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Chno Dearg


My way forward was along the ridge south east from the summit - towards the south top of Stob Coire Sgriodain. It proved to be complex ground with hummocks and minor ridges running at an angle to the main ridge. I imagine it could be challenging in poor visibility! But today it was beautifully clear!

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Towards the south top of Stob Coire Sgriodain


Heading along the Easains looked impressive.

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The Easains


And there were some good views towards Glencoe to the south.

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Towards Glencoe


The snowfields gave great walking for crampons.

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Snowfields


But I can't help feeling that I look like an old man with a walking stick coming across the snow! Well if the cap fits - wear it! :lol:

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Walking on snow


From the col I headed off the regular route to take in the Munro Top of Meall Garbh. I was rewarded with views of Ben Nevis emerging from behind the Easains.

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Ben Nevis and the Easains


Schiehallion showed up well to the south-east.

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Schiehallion


I was at the top of Meall Garbh (I try to visit the Munro Tops too when it is practicable - but it tends to make for a longer day! :D ) - but I still had Chno Dearg waiting in the background to be climbed.

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On top of Meall Garbh


Chno Dearg has a bit of a reputation for being a rounded and rather boring hill but I've always rather liked the sound of the name. Perhaps it is best climbed in winter. As I walked towards it I noticed evidence of a past avalanche. "It can't be that tame a hill if it can do avalanches" I thought. Perhaps in another few thousand years it could have a fine corrie on its east side! (But perhaps that will need another ice age to complete! :D )

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Approaching Chno Dearg


As I started my ascent of Chno Dearg I noticed the other group of walkers following me up the slopes.

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Walkers below


It didn't take long to reach the summit dome with views towards the Easains and the Grey Corries opening up.

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The Easains and the Grey Corries


It was time to perch myself on the cairn and pretend for the camera that I had been sitting there for ages.

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The summit of Chno Dearg


But time was pressing on - it was time to head home. The snow fields north of the summit provided a good route down with crampons on my feet.

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:11 am
by Redrock
And to continue

Glen Spean and Loch Laggan looked fine in the late afternoon light.

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Glen Spean and Loch Laggan


By now the day was moving on and the sun was setting over the ridge of Stob Coire Sgriodain.

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Sunet over Stob Coire Sgriodain


Creag Meagaidh was a fine sight in the sunset light as I made my way quickly down the mountain.

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Creag Meagaidh at sunset


Soon I was below the snow line and looking back at the ridge that had started my day. I was intrigued by the burn which actually split and went two directions below the waterfall. It rather confused me and left me crossing more than I needed to. I also learned a handy lesson - stand on the rocks just below the water in freezing weather - those above will be covered in ice and are deadly to stand on! :lol:

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Waterfall on Allt Chaorach Beag


I was down to the path above Fersit with just enough light to see my way. I made my way through the village in the fading light and arrived back at the car a little after 5pm. What a day it had been! You don't get days like this very often and I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it! And I'd got my timing just about right this time too! So all in all it was a great day on the hills! :D :D :D I'd love more days like these! 8)

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:24 am
by ChrisW
Fine report and pics Redrock, lovely to see the mountains with that top covering of snow, what a fantastic day in the hills in perfect weather :D

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:57 am
by Alastair S
That looks like a grand day right enough :thumbup:

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:01 am
by Collaciotach
Cracking report and fine pics...... oh the cold and sunny Winter day :D

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:29 pm
by Redrock
Thanks everyone. It's good to be able to share a cracking winter's day - for once! :D

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:21 pm
by Bod
Great report Redrock,
A great start to the year for you, hills in January this year - we're doing well!
:D :D

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:15 pm
by Redrock
Och aye, Bod. We have to start kicking up the white stuff again! :D Cheers! 8)

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:48 pm
by Alan S
Great report redrock :D
You just cannae whack they pics of loch treig 8)

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:57 pm
by monty
Great set of photos Redrock. It was pea soup when i was up there. Is that real Chno :lol: :lol:

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:17 pm
by Redrock
alan s wrote:Great report redrock :D
You just cannae whack they pics of loch treig 8)


Aye, it's a great place, Alan. It's just like looking down on a fjord - I imagine! :D

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:18 pm
by Redrock
monty wrote:Great set of photos Redrock. It was pea soup when i was up there. Is that real Chno :lol: :lol:


Chno, really! :lol: :lol: It's so much better when you can see the views, Monty! 8)

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:54 pm
by Blue Bear
Great report RedRock and excellent pictures- I was one of the guys you met that day on the hills and the whole report certainly captured what a brilliant day we had.It was good to get some winter training done on the gulley although my calfs might feel different:lol :lol: : Keep up the good work and we might see you on another :lol: :thumbup:

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:10 pm
by Redrock
Cheers, Blue Bear! It was a great day, wasn't it - and it's great fun honing the old winter skills (but of course I cheated a bit on the gully and avoided the snow!) :lol: I wish we could get more days like that - but more often the clag is waiting up there to spoil things! :lol: I've still got the two on the other side of Loch Trieg to do - so I'll be up there again some day. Maybe see you out on another hill another time! 8)

Re: Snow on Chno Dearg

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:48 pm
by jonny616
Great report & pics. Can't wait to do these hills