Southern softie on tour 2012 - Day 1, Curved Ridge
by 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: 745m2 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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The top of the tower is a sensational place to be and can definitely be described as 'airy'.
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.
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?
Next stop Assynt.
by clivew » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:55 pm
by mountain thyme » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:08 pm
by BobMcBob » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:10 pm
by skuk007 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:53 pm
That's a fair old drive you did before tackling this
I don't think anyone doing the Curved Ridge (on their own) could be classed as a 'softie'
by Bod » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:02 pm
Enjoy Assynt ...... hope the weather is kind to you!
by Milesy » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:37 pm
- Posts: 1516
- Joined: Jun 12, 2009
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by gaffr » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:13 am
by malky_c » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:36 am
A great start to the holidays. Looking forward to seeing what else you got up to (including the traverse of A Mhaigdhean, I assume).
by Fudgie » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:52 am