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Ring of Steall in two days

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:57 am
by Turin
We started this route after having arrived the day before on the Fort William campsite.
As the weather was supposed to be exceptionally fine and we were really looking forward to this trip as two years ago we could not do it due to the bad weather conditions.

As we definitely wanted to make a two days trip out of it we were quite packed with all we would need for a bivouac (including a small tent, sleeping bags, stove and food).
With this heavy load we started the tour easily to the Steall Falls. Finding the (driest) path from the falls to the ascent of the first munro was challenging, but we managed it without getting wet feet. Staying as close to the rocks as possible worked out fine for us.
For lunch we had our first view to the full dramatic scenery of the Ring.
First scenic view on the ascent of An Gearanach.

After having reached the summit we made our way down the southern ridge of An Garbhanach. It looked quite intimidating but turned out to be straight forward and was no problem even with a rucksack of 15kg+. Scratches of crampons from winter trips help finding the way.
As we took our time for the ascent and descent of An Garbhanach it was already in the afternoon when we reached the small dip in the ridge.
It is a really lovely place to pitch a tent just in the middle of the ridge. A few minutes walk down the southern slope we found some fresh water, had a hot meal and a brew at the tent and really enjoyed being the only ones at the Ring in the sunset. A very unique experience.
View from the "campsite" to Sgurr a' Mahaim and the Devil's Ridge.


At already 07:00 be broke fast with a coffee and continued our tour with the ascent on Stop Coire a' Chairn. The Munro is not very spectacular in my eyes, but provides a superb view to Ben Nevis, the Steall valley, and to the southeast to Na Gruagaichean.
We then continued our tour along the ridge bagging Am Bodach and Sgorr an lubhair right to the "Devil's Ridge" and found out that it is not so vicious as we feared. The only challenging few steps can be easily bypassed to the left, but even with the heavy rucksack this was not necessary.

After having managed that we though that we would just need a final effort to reach the top of Sgurr a' Mhaim.
Well, to be honest, the ascent was steep but ok. The bad thing about Sgurr A' Mhaim is the descent down the northwest face back to the carpark at Poll Dubh. It is steep, with loose scree and absolutely no fun with a heavy rucksack. Further down the path gets quite boggy even though we had very little rain the days before our trip.
On the other hand we were paid back with a great view on Stob Ban.
Stob Ban from Sgurr a' Mhaim

However, we managed it and really enjoyed a refreshing bath at the Poll Dubh Falls.
To sum up it was a great trip really worth doing it in two days. It will not save you any energy, but the experience of an overnight stay on the ridge is priceless.

Re: Ring of Steall in two days

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:58 am
by Stuart Angus
Belter...........all of it 8) love the pitch 8)