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Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Final trip of 2012: Glas half full


Postby laconic surf » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:47 pm

Route description: Glas Maol Munros circuit, Cairnwell Pass

Munros included on this walk: Cairn of Claise, Carn an Tuirc

Date walked: 29/12/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 11 km

Ascent: 734m

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With the Christmas festivities in full swing, I hadn't made it out onto the hills since early December but the weekend before Hogmanay seemed the perfect chance to rectify this. The Glas Maol circuit is often tackled in the shoulder seasons either side of winter when there is less snow and longer daylight hours but for me these are winter hills so I decided to break the circuit into two shorter sections starting with Carn an Tuirc and Cairn of Claise, following a circular route and descending off the plateau before Glas Maol and heading over Sron na Gaoithe back to the start


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Arriving at the car parking spot 2km north of the Ski school, I was off up the path by 9am. Shortly after beginning the walk there is a slight fork in the path, the right fork takes a meandering route alongside the Alt a' Gharbh-Choire, whilst carrying straight on takes a more direct but pretty boggy path. I was in the mood for a bit of scenery before the slog along the snowy plateau so I chose to follow alongside the raging waterfalls.

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View from car park down the Cairnwell Pass


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Carn Aosda and The Cairnwell


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View of Carn an Tuirc


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The Alt a' Gharbh-Choire



The path reaches a point where you have to cross the alt but it wasn't easy to pick a good point to cross as it was in spate and flowing hard and fast. After several aborted attempts I eventually found a way across which involved a very wobbly crossing and one wet foot :roll: As I set off towards the hill I suddenly realised I only had one glove on! I definitely started with two and it dawned on me that I had stopped to check the map and had likely taken my glove off and dropped it. With a cuss to make a sailor blush I realised I'd have to recross the alt, find the glove and recross again. :evil: Despite trying to encourage the dog to stay he insisted in following me and got a drenching - the price for loyalty :lol:
Several plunges later I had found the glove and crossed again - 20 minutes wasted, I'd now need to get a move on.
As I hit the first large patches of snow the walk became more difficult as the snow here has still not compacted and every other step was shin deep. There were some decent views though that made up for the tiring crossing.

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Finally, I reached the steep pull up from the flattish ground below up towards the summit. In this cleft the snow had compacted so it was on with the crampons and out with the axe, kicking steps to the top. As the ground flattened out again at the top, there was barely any snow and the ground was very rocky so the crampons were packed up again for the final walk to the summit cairn.

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At this point I could see a weather front moving in fast. The cloud was dropping so I didn't hang about and began the walk over to Cairn of Claise. Here, above the Garbh-coire, the snow was nice and firm so crampons were back on. I was beginning to get concerned about my route as it began to disappear and I had intermittent white-outs. I kept well left, away from the edge of the coire and I climbed towards the top of the second munro. I kept getting occasional glimpses of the summit before I was finally in a permanent white out. The dog is a right feartie and went on strike and had to be cajoled to get to the top :lol:

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View to Cairn of Claise


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Front moves in over Glas Maol


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White out


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Harvey downs tools :)


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Fleeting glimpse of summit


Finally I found the fenceposts and reached the top. The camera by this point had enough and refused to turn on with the plummeting temperature., though I had managed to keep it warmer than usual by storing it in my coat pocket. Now it was decision time, I knew I could follow the fenceposts and this would eventually turn into a wall but there was still no sign of the white out ending and I was aware I would have to leave the wall and walk above the coire on the other side in zero visibility. My objectives for the day had been reached and now it was just about getting off the mountain as quickly and safely as possible. I decided to play it safe and return the way I came knowing the bealach's terrain and that there was a couple of large boulders to aid navigation. I took a bearing with the compass and checked the GPS but daftly whilst putting it back in my pocket I somehow managed to bury my ice axe into the primaloft jacket :shock: :evil: A nice gaping hole would need restitching when I got home. The reascent up Carn an Tuirc was the toughest moment of the day as I couldn't see the top and the wind was howling a gale impeding my progress. I was so relieved to reach the top and eventually found the steep descent that I had climbed up earlier. It was right on the edge of the cloud base and I could now see the bottom and the route back to the car. Time to have a bit of fun - good winter skills need practice and what better time to for a bit of axe arresting. After having a check that there were no obvious avalache signs I threw myself onto my front and pushed off, feet in the air and shot off down the slope at some speed with the dog barking and chasing me down :lol:
I braked with the axe applying different pressures until I came to a stop and then pushed off again, picking up a serious turn of speed before breaking hard at the bottom with a huge smile on my face, a great bit of entertainment, all in the name of safety :wink:
Crampons off and it was onto the walk out, a nice picturesque ramble back along the alt with a wee look back at a great winter days out. I hope to do the second half of this round in January, but a great end to 2012 - here's to next year. Stay safe and have a great 2013 :D

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laconic surf
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Posts: 538
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Sub 2000:32   Hewitts:2
Joined: Feb 18, 2012
Location: East Lothian

Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby Scotjamie » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:51 pm

Enjoyable report there LS

Just a wee bit harder than Traprain?
Some f-ups, some learning, a good day out (though my sentiments are with Harvey) and safely off

Nicely done :)
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Scotjamie
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Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby yellowbelly » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:55 pm

Great report Luc. I think you made a wise decision to return the same way in the circumstances.
Loved the "whiteout" photo. You should enter it either for the Turner Prize, hang it in the Tate Modern or in the WH photo comp. :lol:
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yellowbelly
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Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby joekell » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:24 pm

great report and gr8 pics
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Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby laconic surf » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:22 pm

Scotjamie wrote:Enjoyable report there LS

Just a wee bit harder than Traprain?
Some f-ups, some learning, a good day out (though my sentiments are with Harvey) and safely off

Nicely done :)


Och, a wee bit :wink:

Yep, good day out, hopefully more to come. Cheers Alan and Happy New Year :D


yellowbelly wrote:Great report Luc. I think you made a wise decision to return the same way in the circumstances.
Loved the "whiteout" photo. You should enter it either for the Turner Prize, hang it in the Tate Modern or in the WH photo comp. :lol:


Cheers Hugh. Def right decision, especially as I got to have a bit of fun on the descent.
Yes, the white out picture is a favourite of mine, i've just yet to decide on a title. I've narrowed it down to either "Lost" or "Oh, sh*t!" :lol:
Happy New Year mate


joekell wrote:great report and gr8 pics


Cheers Joekell, good luck on the hills for 2013 :D
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laconic surf
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Posts: 538
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Location: East Lothian

Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby morag1 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:58 pm

Well done Laconic, you've not half rattled through the Munros this year, bet you cant wait to bag some more in the New Year :D Like the whiteout photo too!!
morag1
 

Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby londonwalker » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:49 am

Hi LS

Great Report - just shows the difference the time of year makes. Did these two and 4 others on a summers day - was a breeze once you get up on the plateau - put the winter coat on and you got a whole lot more to deal with. :wink:

The line
"As I hit the first large patches of snow the walk became more difficult as the snow here has still not compacted and every other step was shin deep"
Reminded me of the day out in Glencoe we had tumbling down the hill in the fresh snow on Meal a Bhuiridh! Great fun

Was the right thing to do to turn back. Especially when the brains on the team (Harvey) had decided he'd had enough :lol: :lol: :lol: Only Joking. Hope to see you in Torridon soon
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Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby londonwalker » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:57 am

Oh got a handy tip for not losing yer gloves

Get your mum to sew a length of elastic to one glove and then the same at the other end. thread the elastic up one sleeve, across the inside of the shoulder (missing hole made by ice axe) then down the other sleeve.

When you take your gloves of they will just be dangling there ready to put back on.

Simple
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londonwalker
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Re: Final trip of 2012: Glas half full

Postby laconic surf » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:36 am

morag1 wrote:Well done Laconic, you've not half rattled through the Munros this year, bet you cant wait to bag some more in the New Year :D Like the whiteout photo too!!


Cheers Morag. A fresh coat of snow on the hills def gives an added urgency to get out there. Happy New Year 8)


londonwalker wrote:Hi LS


The line
"As I hit the first large patches of snow the walk became more difficult as the snow here has still not compacted and every other step was shin deep"
Reminded me of the day out in Glencoe we had tumbling down the hill in the fresh snow on Meal a Bhuiridh! Great fun

Was the right thing to do to turn back. Especially when the brains on the team (Harvey) had decided he'd had enough :lol: :lol: :lol: Only Joking. Hope to see you in Torridon soon


A great day indeed :D
Aye, the dog's my safety guru :lol:

londonwalker wrote:Oh got a handy tip for not losing yer gloves

Get your mum to sew a length of elastic to one glove and then the same at the other end. thread the elastic up one sleeve, across the inside of the shoulder (missing hole made by ice axe) then down the other sleeve.

When you take your gloves of they will just be dangling there ready to put back on.

Simple


That's great Andy that cheers :lol: Funnily enough my mum suggested the same thing when I told her, but then again she's also in her 70's and I guess great generational minds think alike :wink:
Looking forward to seeing you in Torridon mate.
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laconic surf
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Posts: 538
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