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Bridging The Gap?

Bridging The Gap?


Postby Fudgie » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:21 pm

Route description: Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, Bridge of Orchy

Munros included on this walk: Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Dorain

Date walked: 28/01/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

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I was planning to head out myself yesterday but after a text to my friend Derek on Friday night, we decided on Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaith as neither of us had done them and they weren't too hard to get to. We were parked up at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and away from the car for nine. The initial climb wasn't too steep and we ha a fine view of the challenge that lay ahead.

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We spotted a pair of dots at the bealach who were heading up to Beinn Dorain and they had obviously made a much earlier start. At this point the bealach looked some distance away but we plodded on and were soon into the snow. It was still quite clear at this point and as the path got steeper, we looked up at the crags which were covered in ice and it made for a good looking scene.

I was struggling at this point which was mostly down to the amount of equipment I was carrying because I had packed my camera tripod and filters in anticipation of the clear summits suggested by MWIS. After what felt like an eternity, I made it on to the bealach and the view beyond it was fantastic. The cloud was above the summits and we could see a fair distance towards many snow capped mountains.

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I was unsure if I would have the time to do both summits so we opted to head for Beinn Dorian first as it looked like the longer walk and the initial ascent wasn't as steep. Shortly after leaving the bealach, we reached a steep section of hill and it was the first chance I've had to use my ice axe in anger. There was enough snow lying that meant the crampons could stay in the bag but the axe was required a few times to help pull me up this point. As we got on to a gentler slope, we could see the cloud over the hills to the west but were confident that we would make it to the summit in time.

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I was desperate to make the summit whilst it was clear as I could then take a few snaps with the camera on the tripod and put the filters to good use as well. Unfortunately as we made it to Carn Sasunnaich the cloud enveloped us and the promise of good views from the cairn was broken. It was a bit disheartening to have climbed 95% of the hill in clear air but it still felt like a good achievement when we sat down at the cairn to enjoy some well earned soup.

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After posing for a picture :D it was off back down towards the bealach and we made great time as most of it was downhill. When we reached the steep part that had taken a great deal of effort to conquer earlier, we slid down it whilst laughing like a pair of daft wee boys :D We then wondered why nobody had built a bridge of some sort at that point connecting to the two hills as it would save us all losing a lot of height just to gain it again :lol:

On our arrivial at the bealach, we noticed that the cloud had dropped quite a bit and our fine view from this point earlier was now gone. I had been given the ok from HQ to take my time so we gladly took the decision to head for Beinn an Dothaith and we marched up the steep slope ahead of us. After a short time, it flattened out slightly and before long, there were no discernible features around us and we were following footprints into the murky depths ahead of us.

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The effort required to push ourselves through the snow for the last few hours was starting to take its toll and the pace dropped for a while. I consulted my GPSand knew that we didn't have much more height to gain. Mercifully the footprints lead on to a flat section and within a minute we were on the summit which was much to our relief. The rest of the soup was guzzled down along with some water and a piece and ham.

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Refueled and energised from the food, our descent was a speedy one and quicker than I thought, we were back at the bealach with the cloud now down at the lowest it had been all day. Losing height from this point was tricky as the path was iced over and we carefully made our way down this section until conditions became better underfoot. Eventually we dropped out of the cloud and the hotel looked a long way away at this point.

We were back at the car before long and it had taken us just under 7 hours. We both agreed it was the hardest double we had done yet but they were absolutely worth it and we really felt good for having to work so hard. A pint in the Drovers was well earned and it was great to get home and relax. It was a bit disappointing to carry all that camera gear and not have the chance to use it but the weather was good enough that my waterproof jacket stayed at the bottom of the bag alongside my crampons. The pictures aren't the best as it was a very flat day for light and the cloud made it difficult.

Another two hills to add to the "go back on a clear day" list but despite the cloud, a really good days walking.
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Fudgie
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Re: Bridging The Gap?

Postby EmmaTowle » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:15 pm

This go back on a clear day thing is a pain in the ass aint it lol. Stupid weather!
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Re: Bridging The Gap?

Postby quoman » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:31 am

Aye its a pain in the bum carrying awe the gear and not getting to use it still two more hills done.
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Re: Bridging The Gap?

Postby basscadet » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:47 am

Great report, with great pics :)
I tried to do these 2 the weekend before Christmas. Glorious weather initially, but after Beinn Dorain, the weather turned whiteout before we got back to the bealach, so we bailed. Good work getting them both :thumbup:
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