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Unluckiest trip ever :(
by basscadet » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:07 pm
Munros included on this walk: Aonach Beag (Nevis Range), Aonach Mor, Ben Nevis, Binnein Beag, Carn Mor Dearg, Sgurr Eilde Mor
Date walked: 08/04/2012
Time taken: 24.56 hours
Distance: 64.14 km
Ascent: 3879m5 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
So 8 on Easter Sunday morning, we set out up the tourist path up Nevis, the mist just a couple of hundred metres above our heads.
There wasnt a breath of wind though, and I'd soon worked up a sweat.. Even with 5 days worth of supplies, only 1 group of guys doing the snowdon/scafell pike/Nevis 3 had passed us, and it took us only a little over 3 hours to make the summit, so despite the clag, we were in high spirits. It was misty, but it wasnt too wet at that point, although there was plenty of hard packed snow at the top. We sat in the hut, and ate some easter egg.. I was thinking about last year when I ate my easter egg sitting at the point of the Stuic
We tromped off accross the snow, and found the line of posts down to the arete after a slight navigational error (well we werent really navigating, just following some footprints ). On a normal day, it would be a steep descent, but by this time the snow was on heavy, and the weight of my pack was making me lose my balance often, which made for extremely slow progress.. Then the 1st disaster struck, I fell, and quite far, hitting a variety of rocks on the way down At first I couldnt decide which bit hurt the worst, but it turned out to be my knee.. I was able to carry on, allbeit a bit stunned after just a few minutes, and my knee wasnt too bad if I was walking straight, but rotation was quite painful, which wasnt ideal in such rocky terrain..
We ventured on along the arete, the way forward being somewhat unclear in the clag.. a couple of wrong turns were taken in amongst the boulders, but we didnt go that far wrong at any point, and the way forward became clearer the further along the ridge we went.
The alternating snow and rain never stopped from then on, but at least it wasnt windy. Unfortunately though, the fall had shredded my waterproof troos up a bit and water was running down my sodden right trouser leg, and into my boot - chilly! So hardly any time was spent at the summit of Carn mor Dearg and as we picked our way down to the coll, we spoke about camping up to warm up. It was almost 4, and I didnt think we would make it over Aonach beag and mor afore dark anyway. We chose a spot just below the bealach, but the wind got up and A wanted to move so we packed up and headed a bit further down the glen toward Steall. We found a more sheltered spot just nae far down, but A suddenly said he didnt want to stay and wanted to walk out! I couldn't believe it.. He was just saying that it was too cold and wet to stay out.. I know it was bad weather that day, but thats the weather I was kind of expecting, so i couldn't understand what the problem was. Anyway, he left and then I was all on my lonesome, just like always. I pitched up and got cosy.. Still the precipitation continued.
View from campsite 1
Day 2, I woke up to find out I was in a lot of pain and could hardly move! I had a few nasty purple swollen bruises, which alone would of been alright, but I was aching all over, and couldnt even take a deep breath really.. I knew I couldnt manage my pack, so resigned myself to just lying there comfy and cosy for the day, chain drinking cups of tea, dozing, and watching the snow line go up and down. A lot had fallen overnight.
About 4 in the afternoon, I awoke from a doze feeling a whole lot better, so i went out for a wander up and down the glen.. The knee was still sore on rotation, and if I squatted i couldnt get up again, but it wasnt sore all the time, so I cooked dinner and thought about the hills of tomorrow.. I was asleep again not long after dark.
Day 3, I was up early, to find the tent was crispy - the snow line had caught up with me I left the tent pitched and took the minimum stuff with me as I headed back up the glen to the coll, back into the mist on a very wet slippery path. It started to rain as I started the steep slog from there up far rockier terrain up toward the Aonach mor/beag ridge. I had found my spikes, which made the going easier, in deepening snow. My knee was pretty sore on the rocky stuff, but up on the ridge, the going was good in shin deep snow. Aonach Mor was a long but pleasant dander, the walk back, and onward up to Aonach Beag seemed to take less time somehow I didnt see anybody else, although it was early for daywalkers I spose. The descent back to the tent on the rocky stuff was agony, so I decided then and there to head for the nearest bothy, as much to dry out as rest. the chain on one of my spikes broke, which made them useless.. Another disaster really.. and my shredded waterproof troos were useless as well I arrived back at the tent before midday, and had a brew before I packed up and started down the glen toward Steall. The glen seemed to go on forever, although the weather improved all the time There were some beautiful waterfalls as well - I love a good waterfall - and by the time I was down at the steall ruins, (2 hours later :0 ) it was blazing sunshine so I stopped for lunch there, feeding wee birdies, almost as much as myself.
I worked my way up Glen Nevis, but was making very slow progress snaking through the bog on the rubbishest path ever.. At dinnertime, I was right at the top of the glen, where the river forks into 2 tiny streams. I decided just to camp up as I found a really nice spot. I had realised how slow mobility was in the glens, and wanted to be right where I could start ascending tomorrow.
Day 4 I was up and out of the tent early in the morning. there had been a fair bit of hail overnight, which had woken me up a few times but it was brightening up as I set off up the long easy ridge to Binnien Beag. It looked all sparkly in the sunlight. There was a fair few peat hags to negotiate, but they were mostly old enough to get through with relatively clean boots. As I got up a bit higher there were some amazing views.
I found a path as the going got steeper which meandered its way up the hillside in a very pleasant manner. I skirted the steepest rocky part of the hill and eventually found the picarious path zigzagging through the rocks to the summit. As I sat at the cairn (the shelter was full of snow) I saw a massive avalanche across the glen on the steep side of Stob Coire an Laogh in the Grey Corries.. Scary stuff, its not a sight I will forget!
So I picked my way carefully down, and looked at Binnein Mor.. It looked impenetratable with a huge rocky buttress on one side, and deep drifted snow on an impossibly steep slope on the other There was a wee path round the side marked on my map, so I set off to find it.. When I was closer, I thought I could see the indent in the snow of a wee path skirting round the right hand side, so I made for that and followed it round. It was a very steep part of the hill, and in a foot of snow, I lost the path and eventually gave up on that route.. So I retraced my steps and tried lower down where I found the path on the map, but it didnt go anywhere except to an impassable crag.. I retraced my steps again, and took the high path again, looking for where I had gone off track. I was further round than I had got before, on a very steep slope, standing in kicked out steps and clinging to my ice axe, when I felt a pitter patter and a rumble from above.. an avalanche! I buried my face into the snow in front of me and clung on for dear life.. Only one dunt to the head from a rock later, it stopped and when I looked down (a few hundred feet drop below ) there didnt look like much had fallen.. That was enough for me though, Binnein Mor had beaten me this time
I took the windie path across the glen to Sgurr Eilde Mor, which was a steep sweaty climb, even in the snow. As I ascended the steepest last bit, the mists came down and the hail started The summit was very deep snow indeed which I found completely strength sapping, so just a quick tap of the cairn and carried on along the ridge for a gentle descent back to the tent. The peat hags were even worse that way though, and it was a winding way I had to take down getting pelted all the time.. it was a very long hail shower indeed. I got to within a couple of hundred yards of the tent when I came across the river.. It was far bigger than I thought it would be, so I had to strip off my boots and socks for a very cold and deeper than expected wade back. Took ages to warm up my numb toes I decided though, that it was possibly too dangerous to be bagging in these conditions by myself, so I planned my route out to Kinlochmore for the next day, and cooked/ate all the food I could to lighten the load
Day 5, was a beautiful morning, and I could tell it was to be a scorcher for the time of year. I didnt know how long the walk was going to take as there was still a few miles of boggy glen to negotiate before a track started, so I set off as early as I could.
The bog wasnt that bad, and I made it down to Luibeilt in a little over an hour. I stopped for brunch in the copse of trees beside the ruin and had a wee snooze in the sun before heading down the track, which had a lot of huge deep puddles to negotiate. The trot past Loch Eilde beag and Mor passed in a flash, and I took frequent breaks to enjoy the sunshine, and ease my sore shoulders. Before long, I was on the hill above KLL and a fabulous vista had opened up.
The path down was steep and badly eroded, but I made it into the village for 1PM, where I got the bus round to my mates in Ballachulish.
Not the trip i had planned, but I've come home feeling like i havent been to work for weeks, so good job there I would say.
by laconic surf » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:26 pm
Great, honest report. Hope your next trip is a little less eventful but just as exciting
by Johnny Corbett » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:29 pm
by basscadet » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:46 pm
Thanks for the kind words LS, I don't think respect is due for merely being comfy in the hills though.. I'm more lazy really, the walk out looked really far to go in a few hours
by adamarchie » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:39 am
Incidentally, what was your original planned route?
by dogplodder » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:25 am
by blanchie » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:12 am
by dooterbang » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:52 am
was that a good friend that deserted you?
by EwaMH » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:55 am
I'd be thinking I was pretty lucky to make it out safely too! Glad you got some good views for all your effort, well done for keeping on !
by monarchming » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:34 am
basscadet wrote:I fell, and quite far
basscadet wrote: it was too cold and wet to stay out..
basscadet wrote: an avalanche!
basscadet wrote: Only one dunt to the head from a rock later
Very uncomfortable reading
by SMRussell » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:19 am
I'm sure you're already able to have a giggle at the sheer turn of events. I'd agree with some of the comments above regarding staying together - esp. if things are looking grim on the weather front.
Well done on making it out alive and (I assume) with sanity intact. Plus - good report
by Klaasloopt » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:07 am
I think the desertion of your mate is the worst thing. A real mental blow. In multi-day trips, there's bound to be bad weather and changes of plan, and I think you're good at it, lowering expectations, waiting in the tent, keeping mental and meteorological depression at bay.
by 147cjl » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:50 pm
by JohnJoe » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:53 pm
I would have bottled it on day one.