Parking up in Dalwhinnie cycled into the Culra bothy late on Tuesday afternoon in the pouring rain, 1 ¾ hrs
The morning brought much improved weather conditions with the day’s route up Ben Alder being clear with a good coating of new snow, finally got set off at 08:30.
Followed the Bealach Dubh track and crossed the Allt a’Bhealachaich Dhuibh without difficulty about 3 km from the bothy before heading directly up the heather to the reach the Long Leachas above snow line. The ridge line proved straight forward apart from a couple of steep steps which in the unconsolidated conditions required ‘dusting off’. The summit plateau had more snow than I expected, generally 25 – 30cm (+ drifts) which made for hard going to the summit.
Headed off down to the Bealach Breabag in a brief snow storm, the descent to the col was a bit of a pain with the wet snow being a great lubricant under the feet.
Had a short stop for a snack before heading off uphill towards Beinn Bheoil which proved a lot easier going that Ben Alder. The northerly wind seemed to have kept snow from building along the summit ridge and only a bit of extraneous zigzagging was required to make the going a lot easier.
Ended up going too far down the north east ridge, in a sleet storm, and making a steep descent to the peat bogs before the skies cleared and I could see the stalkers track 0.5km off to the NW. Ended up back at the bothy after a great 7 hrs needing a brew.
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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.