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Carn Liath in the snow

Carn Liath in the snow

Postby GariochTom » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:48 pm

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Liath (Creag Meagaidh)

Date walked: 26/01/2013

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 770m

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With the avalanche forecast showing high risk of avalanches on north and northeast facing slopes in the Creag Meagaidh area, we decided against an ascent of Creag Meagaidh itself, and instead opted for a more straightforward ascent of the nearby Carn Liath.

As we drove west from Aviemore we left clear blue skies, and were soon overshadowed by grey cloud, and we wondered whether we might just be walking in that cloud all day. We considered turning back and doing one of the sunny hills to the southeast, but decided to continue to Carn Liath, and just go for it.

We were soon out of the clouds again and enjoyed excellent views of the snow-covered Creag Meagaidh massif as we neared the virtually empty car park at Aberarder.

Craeg Meagaidh Massif by GariochT, on Flickr

After a bit of faffing in the car park, we set off up the gentle path towards Coire Ardair, past the SNH buildings and through the birch woodland. We kept an eye out for a path leading off to the right towards Na Chapanan but couldn't see one (it either just doesn't exist or was hidden underneath the snow...) so we just branched off where the slope didn't seem too steep.

The snow was deep so we took it in turns to 'break trail', and our efforts were rewarded by good views to the south across Loch Laggan and the Monadh Liath, and west up Coire Ardair.

Steep by GariochT, on Flickr

Loch Laggan and the Monadh Liath by GariochT, on Flickr

Coire Ardair, Creag Meagaidh by GariochT, on Flickr

As we got higher, the walking got more awkward - the snow concealed the rocks and scree below, so we carefully chose where to gingerly place each next footstep, to hopefully avoid any holes and twisted ankles.

There was an excellent view across to Coire Ardair, the Lochan a' Choire and 'the Window' from here.

Coire Ardair and Lochan a Choire below Creag Meagaidh by GariochT, on Flickr

And a good (zoomed) view of Ardverikie Castle (otherwise known as Glenbogle....) on the other side of Loch Laggan.

Ardverikie Castle (AKA Glenbogle) by GariochT, on Flickr

We continued upwards, on gentler ground (but still with scree just concealed below the snow) and as we neared the summit the cloud descended - not such a good view from the top then!

Approaching the summit of Carn Liath by GariochT, on Flickr

Summit of Carn Liath by GariochT, on Flickr

We stopped for a short rest at the top, but soon started to descend when a (fortunately short-lived) blizzard arrived.. We found a line of fence posts that we decided to follow down to the main track. Like the ascent, the descent wasn't particularly easy and we both had a few comedy falls in the deep snow. I tried sliding down on my backside, but the snow was far too soft and deep... Our crampons definitely weren't needed today!

Eventually we reached the main path which was a relief, then it was a short walk back to the car. An enjoyable day out.

26-JAN-13 04-04-42 PM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: Carn Liath in the snow

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:53 pm

These hills look impressive when covered in snow! Well done for bagging one of them. I like the pictures 8)
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Re: Carn Liath in the snow

Postby Lenore » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:48 am

Wow those are superb photos! Well done! Glad you had the views; would have been frustrating to have driven away from the good weather and never see the sun all day.
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Re: Carn Liath in the snow

Postby johnrich » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:29 pm

Great pictures, I've yet to venture up the hills around that area so it's whetted my appetite :clap:
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Re: Carn Liath in the snow

Postby ed_hill » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:49 pm

lovely stuff. did this exact walk about 3 weeks ago - a bit less snow but stunning views down loch laggan!
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