April 10th 2013 - Our second outing with winter gear - Stob Dearg.
A Dad and lads day out.
From the A82 at Altnafeadh we could see the footbridge to Lagangar bunk house and the path beyond leading to the jaws of Coire na Tulaich - by which we would ascend to the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge.
There had been heavy snow three weeks previously and light cover the previous week, the temperature had remained cold throughout so the snow was well packed.
A well defined path led us to the streambed and we continued past large boulders rising into the coire.
Ice covered crags provided distraction.
There were a number of footprints to follow, a walker the previous day had seen folk ascending on this route and noted many footprints along the ridge.
About an hour after we started the snow became sufficient for our crampons.
We made steady progress and spotted 4 walkers ahead of us making progress up the steepest part of the back wall.
An hour and a half after putting our crampons on, the col was reached at 870metres. 1k on the map with 570metres of ascent.
The wind was not too bad on the ridge, but the mist was thickening. We turned left to walk the 600metres to the summit, rising from 870m to 1022m. Following footprints, and keeping on the highest part of the wide ridge we made our way between small boulders as sleety snow blew about. Visibility was down to 20metres or so but after about half and hour there was no more uphill and all the footprints stopped by a small cairn. Stob Dearg summit!
A quick snack and we were ready to descend. Following our own footprints and picking our way along the ridge, we had to take care to check the terrain as the snow was starting to cover the footprints. We came upon our exit surprisingly quickly. Taking care to check that it was the same gully we had emerged from, we dropped into the shelter and quiet of the coire. An enjoyable and rapid descent found us at 400metres less than an hour after leaving the summit.
All in all an excellent adventure and a first class route for novices - no loss that the weather prevented the ridgewalk to Stob na Broige.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.