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Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie


Postby Silverhill » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:24 pm

Route description: Bidean nam Bian

Munros included on this walk: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Date walked: 04/06/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 11.1 km

Ascent: 1439m

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Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Today I was going to climb a few munros in Glen Etive. But it didn’t go quite as planned…. :oops:
Having got up at 4.00am my brain still must have been asleep. Got ready, had breakfast, gathered all my stuff and quietly slipped out of the hostel. No sooner had I shut the front door when I realised my walking boots were still in the drying room. Arrrgghh, locked out! What now?
Attempt the walk in my trainers? Find an open window, burgle the hostel and retrieve my boots?
Hmm, my sleepy brain had got me into this mess, surely it wasn’t going to get me out of it?!
So best to wait and hope for an early bird to come out of the hostel. That could take a while, it was 5.00am. So I got into the car, reclined the seat and managed to get a wonderful two and a half hours sleep in.
The sound of crunching gravel woke me up. Hurrah, the hostel had come to life again. Cue Plan B: quickly sneak in, not get noticed by anyone I knew (the previous evening I had profusely apologised to the others in the dorm for setting the alarm at 4.00am) so as not to have to explain my stupidity, fetch boots, sneak out and bag Bideam nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhaich instead.
So thanks to this mishap I unintentionally started on these two nice and early at 8.00am.

From the roadside car park, the way up in between Aonach Dubh and Gearr Aonach looks impressive to say the least. Was I really going that way?

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The way to go!

The path up Coire nan Lochan is really good. It keeps climbing and climbing so height is gained quickly, giving some steep views down. With there not being much air flow around, the sweat soon started dripping. Those waterfalls looked very inviting! :D


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Waterfall

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Another waterfall


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Looking down

I had a short break at the lochans in the upper corrie. Admiring the views, enjoying the silence. It was beautiful.

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Corrie with lochans

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Aonach Eagach

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Deer

Careful not to startle two deer I quietly made my way to the ridge up Stob Coire nan Lochan. There were lovely views back to the lochans, but also a rather disturbing view to what I had envisaged to be my descent route from Bealach Dearg: lots of snow! :sick:

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Lovely

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Dreadful

But first there were some hills to be bagged, although I couldn’t help looking for suitable alternatives to that descent. The views from Stob Coire nan Lochan were amazing.

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Ben Nevis and Aonach Eagach

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Beinn a' Bheithir

Then onwards for the last pull up to Bidean nam Bian, going over a patch of snow on the ridge. Luckily the snow was quite soft, so it was easy to walk on.

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The last leg

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Snow layers

The ridge ends abruptly at the summit. I was soon joined by a walker who had come up the same way. He was from New-Zealand, visiting family in Scotland with his wife. We chatted a bit before he went on to Stob Coire nam Beith.

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Summit Bidean nam Bian


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Sgor na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh

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Stob Coire Sgreamhach

The descent to Bealach Dearg is straightforward and from there the Lost Valley looked very inviting if not a bit tricky to get to.

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Stob Coire nan Lochan

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The Lost Valley

The walker from New Zealand had caught up again and together we continued up Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

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Bidean nam Bian

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Summit Stob Coire Sgreamhach

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Glen Etive

The views from the summit were great, but the prospect of descending from Bealach Dearg dampened the experience a bit. After a sandwich we walked back to bealach. Time to face the descent down a steep slope covered in snow. I joked to the other walker that at least the scree wouldn’t be bothering us now. He agreed that there was an upside to the situation. We both scanned a few potential ways down, shared our views and then went for it.
He went in front and I followed in his snowy footsteps. It was extremely steep so we contoured round the crags, holding on to the rock. It was awkward and very unpleasant. Twice the soft snow gave way and my right leg disappeared in a hole. Strong language was muttered under my breath on several occasions on the way down.

It was a huge relief when we made it back to terra firma unscathed. The tingling fingers and soaked trousers being just a minor discomfort. I thanked the walker for getting me down safely. He kindly reciprocated by saying that he wouldn’t have attempted this on his own.

The walk down to the Lost Valley follows a good path and got rid of the adrenaline in the legs.
After a short sandwich break at the Lost Valley we said our goodbyes. I spent a bit longer there to enjoy the scenery. 8)

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The Lost Valley

The last kilometer back to the car, although very pleasant along the stream, seemed to last for ages. I think my legs were telling me they’d had enough for the day! :lol:

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A last look at Stob Coire Sgreamhach

At the car park a bag piper was entertaining tourists. Welcome back to civilisation!

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Bagpiper in the car park
Last edited by Silverhill on Thu May 01, 2014 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby rockhopper » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:29 pm

Nice trip, silverhill - one of my favourite walks with great views - at least you found the path at the end (as opposed to struggling over the boulders like me :roll: ) - cheers :)
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby jmarkb » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:14 pm

Great report!

I think the Bealach Dearg catches quite a few folk out in late Spring, as it holds onto the snow very late, and it's very tempting to go for it rather than reascend Bidean! One possible avoiding tactic is to descend the SE ridge of Sgreamhach to the 741m col, and then NE from there to pick up the Lairig Eilde path.
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby mrssanta » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:31 pm

jmarkb wrote:Great report!

I think the Bealach Dearg catches quite a few folk out in late Spring, as it holds onto the snow very late, and it's very tempting to go for it rather than reascend Bidean! One possible avoiding tactic is to descend the SE ridge of Sgreamhach to the 741m col, and then NE from there to pick up the Lairig Eilde path.

would you recommend that as an ascent route for Stob Coire Sgreamhach?
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby jmarkb » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:05 am

mrssanta wrote:would you recommend that as an ascent route for Stob Coire Sgreamhach?


Yes, it would be fine. There's not much of a path once you leave the main one, though.
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby BoyVertiginous » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:01 pm

jmarkb wrote:
mrssanta wrote:would you recommend that as an ascent route for Stob Coire Sgreamhach?

Yes, it would be fine. There's not much of a path once you leave the main one, though.

Ascended this on a very warm day back in June, it was fine though care was needed on the snow. We stayed close to the edge of it initially but, as there were a few of us, spread out in a diagonal. The snow was pleasantly cooling and there was the odd disappearing leg here and there. Better up than down though, I'd imagine, and there's the reward of a easy wee scramble after the snow to get to the bealach. We descended via Coire Gabhail.
Note to self: trip report!!!
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Re: Bidean nam Bian and the descent from a dreadful corrie

Postby Silverhill » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:41 pm

rockhopper wrote:Nice trip, silverhill - one of my favourite walks with great views - at least you found the path at the end (as opposed to struggling over the boulders like me :roll: ) - cheers :)

Thank you rockhopper! It's now one of my favourite walks too. I want to go back and explore the other ways up (and down! :lol: )

jmarkb wrote:Great report!
I think the Bealach Dearg catches quite a few folk out in late Spring, as it holds onto the snow very late, and it's very tempting to go for it rather than reascend Bidean! One possible avoiding tactic is to descend the SE ridge of Sgreamhach to the 741m col, and then NE from there to pick up the Lairig Eilde path.

Cheers jmarkb, interesting suggestion. I may well try this out when revisiting those hills, exploring different approaches. 8)

mrssanta wrote: would you recommend that as an ascent route for Stob Coire Sgreamhach?

I hope you enjoy these two as much as I did, mrssanta, whichever route you choose. They are sure some awesome hills. :D

BoyVertiginous wrote:Ascended this on a very warm day back in June, it was fine though care was needed on the snow. We stayed close to the edge of it initially but, as there were a few of us, spread out in a diagonal. The snow was pleasantly cooling and there was the odd disappearing leg here and there. Better up than down though, I'd imagine, and there's the reward of a easy wee scramble after the snow to get to the bealach. We descended via Coire Gabhail.

On the way down I saw a chap making his way up across the snow, and I thought exactly the same: probably better up than down! Made a mental note for the next time. :lol:
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