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Up to our arses in snow and beyond....
by weescotsman » Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:51 pm
Route description: Creise and Meall a'Bhùiridh from the Ski centre
Munros included on this walk: Meall a' Bhùiridh
Date walked: 04/11/2012
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 1110mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Alarm goes off about 5 am and a 6 am pickup by Kev then onto Stirling to meet the others. From an initial possible total of 8 intrepid walkers we were down to 4 so only needed 1 car. Much discussion was had en route but it was clear from a long way off that MWIS were right off the ball with their forecast. We could see low cloud all the way from Callander and beyond. The closer we got to Glencoe the worst our fears got and we weren't going to get any decent views.
The snowline was fairly low on Meall a'Bhuiridh but that didn't put us off. Not did being only 2 cars in the car park either. The cafe was open but we didn't bother going in and were booted up by 8.15 so off we went.
15 mins into the trip and Ian called a halt, couldn't work up the energy and though we encouraged him to at least try to get to the initial snowline it was clear he wouldn't manage. Especially when we later met the deep snow he'd be really struggling. So he went back to the car and left us 3 to soldier on. It's pretty steep initially and I was struggling a bit but once you get towards the plateau and the snow it's a bit easier.
I knew there was snow, but didn't realise how deep it would be so quickly. We were sinking up to our knees regularly even this early on but it was dry and powdery so not too bad.
The cloud was extremely low by now and it was a question of map and compass coming out regularly. Even then we managed to head in the wrong direction towards Creise but there was the small matter of a huge gap between us and it.....
Bearing sorted, we reversed back towards Meall a'Bhuiridh but at times we just couldn't see it. We had a brief 10 minute window where the sun threatened to break through and this was the only time we saw Creise all day, and even then the photo is a bit hazy. But at least it confirmed our position.
We were all struggling with the deep snow but given how deep it was, that's very understandable. We were still having a good laugh and it wasn't particularly cold either. The winds only whipped up a couple of times which certainly helped.
Took us 3 hrs to get to the summit which I reckon we could do in a clear day in summer in about 2. Even less if we use the chairlifts....
Nothing to see at the summit, not even a cairn, just a pole. Quick bite to eat and headed back down again. The approach to the summit is quite rocky but the snow filled in a lot of the gaps.
I'm always faster going downhill than up and on the way up we'd spotted a skier ascending as well, the only other person on the hills that day.
We had a bright idea to follow his ski-tracks rather than our own earlier prints we had made as we knew they went away too far west. That idea was fine until the ski tracks suddenly stopped and we had no idea where we were. Couldn't see a thing to even take a bearing, wouldn't say we were lost, just temporarily misplaced. We wandered about a bit whilst losing height until we finally spotted one of the chairlift stations. Managed to match that up with the map and continued on downhill following a burn until we finally found our earlier prints. It wasn't until we were virtually down by the snowline that we came out of the clag and could properly see where we were. The Buchaille and the AE ridge were equally summit clagged as we had been.
We will definitely return in the summer, maybe even try a scramble route as well.
by ChrisA » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:06 pm
by weescotsman » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:13 pm
ChrisA wrote:I was up there the day before in similar conditions, done Meall a'Bhuiridh walked over to the ridge and looked at Creise and decided not to bother didn't expect so much snow up there.
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