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Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Ring of Stiiill to be Done


Postby tomyboy73 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:05 pm

Route description: The Ring of Steall, Mamores

Munros included on this walk: An Gearanach

Date walked: 04/11/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 11.3 km

Ascent: 1217m

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We`d hummed and hawed about it for about a week or so before finally deciding, after the weather looked good, to try and do The Ring of Steall. All three weather forecasts were checked the BBC, the MetOffice and even MWIS. All 3 predicted cold but bright sunny weather for Fort William area and as the met also gives you individual mountain tops forecasts we were happy to pack our bags and head out to Glen Nevis on saturday afternoon to camp overnight to give us an early start. It all started so well as we arrived at the car park around 9ish and what light rain there had been all but disappeared, as predicted, and we found a nice spot in the dark to set our tent.
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Making Hot Chocolate


We woke up later than planned and by the time we had breakfast and packed up it was later than we hoped for, about twenty to nine, and began our march towards the Steall Gorge. I`ve recently bought some new gear including boots and this was their first real walk despite small walks around ma bit, and they had been rubbing against a football injury and giving me some pain, I didn`t know if this was going to flare up again. And Jim had his new jacket on for the first time. :wink:
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View from our tent to Ben Nevis


Up and down the wet steps we went listening to the roar of the water rushing by below us until the view oppened up to reveal the Steall Falls and snow topped hills. :)
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Steall Falls


If we were to complete this walk there was sure to be a few exciting moments along the way and the Steall Bridge presented the first of the day. Even although you know you`ll be okay crossing it, there was always that wee doubt in my mind that you could slip and fall in and the rest of the day is a total washout. Jim went first and although he was fine crossing, it took him about a minute and a half to get across, thought it would be much quicker than that. :? I followed with a wee knot in my stomach but the fear does keep you concentrating and it was a bit of a dawdle to be honest. :lol:
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Jim on bridge.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbbnxt3T1c0&feature=plcp

After that we made our boggy way around to the foot of the falls were i wished they had a bridge there. The water was fast moving, deep in places, and the rocks were as slippery as eels on greased floor. Jim crossed whilst i put on my gaiters so i didn`t see where or how he crossed. He tried to point me to some rocks he used and after thinking no way and checking other routes i just went for it splashing and stumbling my way across. Aye, my boots are waterproof right enough. :crazy:
p1170769-art-1.jpg
Steall Falls, close up


At this part of the walk before you get onto An Gearanach the ground is very boggy and we had to climb up into the rocks and through the trees to avoid sinking in. We then made our way up the path which was fine at first until we reached about 500/600m which was then beginning to disappear under the snow and we followed some prints upto the ridge from here on in. It also began to snow and as Jim was a few zigzags ahead of me i began to wonder if we were going to get very far considering the sky was pure white and didn`t look like it had any intention of clearing. in fact the snow got heavier and deeper as we made our way up. It was like we were in another world now. Our ice axes were to be brought out for the first time. This sure was a walk filled with new experiences.
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Jim looking down on me as i climb up the steep slope


As i climbed up through the snow which was sometimes knee deep i remember looking down behind me and thinking "jeezo, i probably wouldn`t have tackled such a sleep slope in the summer !" But the snow was holding firm and there wasn`t much of a wind so we felt safe to carry on up.
There didn`t seem to be much time for taking pictures and everything was white anyway so we trudged on up through the snow to the top. when we eventually got there we weren`t too sure of the real summit until we baegan to descend a bit and we knew well we had past the top. We now had no view at all except for the few feet in front of us and the snow building up on the ridges was beginning to get dangerous as we couldn`t tell what was snow or sky. We talked about how far we could go but every step now was getting precarious. We stopped just before the summit of An Garbanach for a rest and something to eat. We were basically sitting on some rocks with our feet dug into the snow to stop us sliding down from the ridge.
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Jim with his ice tea on our ridge top rest

We were truly on an adventure beyond anything we had ever done. Again we spoke about the weather, time and the conditions and decided to have one more wee go ahead. Once we got across the sloping slabs and we couldn`t see anything, we called it a day. The sky was never going to clear and we had to determine a point of no return. We crossed back across the slabs which was dodgier than the first team as we kicked away more snow and all i cloud see was a white chute to death ! :sick: There was nothing to think about apart from getting across and hoping i wouldn`t have to try a self arrest as i didn`t know what lay below me after the ten or so feet i could see slanting away from me. On reflection i mentioned to Jim that having read some stories of people on Everest and the like, i thought for a moment how much danger we could have been in crossing that ridge but we really enjoyed the thrill of it. It was here we heard some voices coming towards us and another 3 walkers emerged from the cloud. We advised them that we thought it was too dangerous to go on but they had a good look for themselves and we met them at the bottom again as thankfully, they turned back at the same point as us. With all the doubt and danger taken away we were able to relax and posed for pictures at the cairn.
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An Gearanach summit

We continued our way down falling about in the snow and a had a good laugh at each other trying to get out.
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Jim, stuck

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Me testing the snow for flavour

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Rock

We headed back down the hill , not at all disappointed as we felt we gained a lot from the day. Bagged one Munro, new boots worked well, ice axes came in handy in the deep snow when we fell, gained some experience in the snow, crossed the Steall bridge twice, took important decisions, and did i mention Jim`s new jacket ? :lol:
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Aonach Beag

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Hard goin

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2nd river crossing

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2n Steall bridge crossing


Jim`s everytrail link with route and more pics
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1865150
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tomyboy73
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby tomyboy73 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:58 pm

:)
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tomyboy73
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby rockhopper » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:06 am

aye - perhaps not quite what you'd planned but a good experience nonetheless - didn't see anything either up there myself so we both have good reasons to go back - cheers :)
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby Graeme D » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:08 am

Will make the Ring all the sweeter when you go back and do the whole route on a scorcher! :D

I remember that section of sloping slabs. Scary in the snow as I recall! :o
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:15 am

Really enjoyable report. :clap: Well done for having the sense to turn back. Them hills aren't going anywhere.
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby McLEOD » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:04 pm

sounds like a bit of an adventure, good stuff
cheers :thumbup:
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby jogilv16 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:36 pm

once again tommy described the walk well,and shows the adventure it was,,,
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:57 pm

Crackin TR again Tommy,shame you did not finish this one,but when you go back you will love the devils ridge.
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby skuk007 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:22 pm

Exciting read Tommy, quite an adventure.

You probably picked the right spot to turn back. I remember the drop from An Garbanach being quite steep so that would have been dodgy in those conditions, especially if the path wasn't visible.

Better luck when you return :)
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby pollyh33 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:39 pm

Oooofft nothing worse than a frozen ring of Steall!!! :lol:

Brilliant report and photos Tommy- loved it :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:13 pm

Graeme D wrote:Will make the Ring all the sweeter when you go back and do the whole route on a scorcher! :D

I remember that section of sloping slabs. Scary in the snow as I recall! :o


yeah, i checked your pics , glad i didn`t know exactly what part we were at at the time !

gammy leg walker wrote:Crackin TR again Tommy,shame you did not finish this one,but when you go back you will love the devils ridge.


yeah Gammy, can`t wat to do it in the summer

pollyh33 wrote:Oooofft nothing worse than a frozen ring of Steall!!! :lol:

Brilliant report and photos Tommy- loved it :clap: :clap:



:lol: i`ve heard its good for piles ! :lol:

thanks everyone
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby danielsutherland » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:21 pm

Reminds me of having to turn back from attempting the devils ridge from steal falls and having to turn back after the first Munro, my pal even lost his black diamond helmet on the top, lesson to us was the old happy tortoise.....unhappy tortoise :lol: :lol: still have to head back and complete this ring o steal!!


Nice report :clap:
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby Graeme D » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:06 pm

danielsutherland wrote:Reminds me of having to turn back from attempting the devils ridge from steal falls and having to turn back after the first Munro, my pal even lost his black diamond helmet on the top, lesson to us was the old happy tortoise.....unhappy tortoise :lol: :lol: still have to head back and complete this ring o steal!!


Nice report :clap:


My word, losing ones helmet on the Ring of Steall? I've heard it all now! :wtf: :wtf: :wtf: :wtf: :wtf:
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby tomyboy73 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:12 pm

danielsutherland wrote:Reminds me of having to turn back from attempting the devils ridge from steal falls and having to turn back after the first Munro, my pal even lost his black diamond helmet on the top, lesson to us was the old happy tortoise.....unhappy tortoise :lol: :lol: still have to head back and complete this ring o steal!!


Nice report :clap:


lol, i think
thanks
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Re: Ring of Stiiill to be Done

Postby danielsutherland » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:22 pm

tomyboy73 wrote:
danielsutherland wrote:Reminds me of having to turn back from attempting the devils ridge from steal falls and having to turn back after the first Munro, my pal even lost his black diamond helmet on the top, lesson to us was the old happy tortoise.....unhappy tortoise :lol: :lol: still have to head back and complete this ring o steal!!


Nice report :clap:


lol, i think
thanks


Having aborted a winter climb!! :? :?
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