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Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge


Postby clivegrif » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Route description: Buachaille Etive Mor

Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor), Stob na Broige (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Date walked: 25/05/2012

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 745m

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The annual pilgrimage north began at 4.30am as I left Worcester with a spring in my step and the brim of my sun-hat freshly starched. Surely it was going to be better than last year? 6 hours and a couple of caffeine injections later I was pulling up into a free parking space in time to see the last of the clag on Buachaille Etive Mor fading away – things are looking good already.
day 1 a.jpg

The Curved Ridge had been on my to do list for a while, and here was my chance at last. The short walk in along the slowly rising path got me nicely warmed up, and got some sweet mountain air into my lungs. Ah, it is good to be back!
The first waypoint is the Waterslab, and it really is unmistakeable.
Day 1 b.jpg

From there the path turns up and round to the right, a bit scrabbly on turf and loose rubble. This is the lower part of the Curve but not much scrambling yet. The first real obstacle is a 10 metre slab, described in the book Scotland's Mountain Ridges as 'feeling harder than anything above', mainly because it is. This slab is shiny and smooth, and definitely a higher grade than a 2/3 scramble. For a few anxious moments I found myself nearly 10 metres up, with nothing obvious to hang onto and my feet beginning to slide.
day 1 c.jpg
Nasty slab

There is however an easier way up to the left of the slab. Steeper and cleaner rock follows, and the scrambling is getting interesting – this is fun!
day 1 d.jpg

day 1 e.jpg


At a level section I catch up with a couple of chaps, one of whom seems to be an off-duty member of the Fashion Police – 'You've got a blob of suncream in your ear, and you haven't shaved' he says rather grumpily....
Just across the way is the Rannoch Wall and a couple of climbers are starting out on Agag's Groove, which does look like good sport.
day 1 f.jpg

Upwards and onwards onto the steepest section of the Curved Ridge. This is not hard and there are plenty of excellent holds – just don't look down.
day 1 g.jpg

The hardest part is a fairly smooth groove on the third step, but again there are hand holds aplenty if you take your time and look for them.
day 1 h.jpg

Again looking across to the Rannoch Wall I notice a solo climber on the Groove, fair play to him.
The scrambling remains good but eases in difficulty as the top of the ridge runs out and merges with the mountain. From here there is the choice of going up a rather loose looking gulley towards the summit, or much better to continue round to the right to begin the scramble to the top of Crowberry Tower. The scrambling here is again not hard, but it is a LONG way down.
day 1 i.jpg

The top of the tower is a sensational place to be and can definitely be described as 'airy'.
day 1 j.jpg

Back along the way you came for a short distance then curve round to the left to reach a short step down. From here it is a straight forward clamber to the summit of the Buchaille.
As a reached the skyline I was fixed by the beady but disappointed eye of a raven. No I'm not dead yet. I sat with him for a while to take in the tremendous views in all directions.
day 1 k.jpg

As I trudged back down Coire na Tulaich, it suddenly struck me how warm it was getting. By the time I reached Fort William the thermometer on the car was reading 34 degrees! That's Centigrade not Fahrenheit, whatever is going on?
day 1 l.jpg

day 1 m.jpg

Next stop Assynt.
Last edited by clivegrif on Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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clivegrif
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby clivew » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:55 pm

Nice one Clive; I was up there last Saturday it was a great day out in perfect weather :D :D
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby mountain thyme » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:08 pm

cracking pictures. im laughing at the 'this isnt the hard part..there are excellent holds' .. looks hard to me
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby BobMcBob » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:10 pm

Fabulous! This looks so much fun. It's on my to-do list for this year. Thanks for posting the photo of the water slab and the first section. Now I've got something to tell me I'm at the right starting point.
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby skuk007 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:53 pm

Great pics Clive, not for me this one, well not yet anyway.
That's a fair old drive you did before tackling this :clap:

I don't think anyone doing the Curved Ridge (on their own) could be classed as a 'softie' :)
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby Bod » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:02 pm

Lovely, I would love to climb this one day :D :D :clap:
Enjoy Assynt ...... hope the weather is kind to you!
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby Milesy » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:37 pm

The shot with the bird is a cracker.
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby gaffr » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:13 am

I glad that you enjoyed the curved ridge......it is a really pleasant way to ascend this mountain. Plus the bonus of being amongst some very fine mountain scenery. :D When I was skimming through your report.....and when you mentioned slab.....I thought, at first, that you were on the waterslide slab....phew you would need your 'wee feet' for this. :)
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby malky_c » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:36 am

Nice one :)

A great start to the holidays. Looking forward to seeing what else you got up to (including the traverse of A Mhaigdhean, I assume).
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Re: Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge

Postby Fudgie » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:52 am

Well done and there are some great pictures in there. I really fancy doing this.
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