Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1
by GillC » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:25 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ciste Dhubh
Date walked: 11/01/2014
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1301m8 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Early start, leaving Glasgow at 3:45am for the 4hr or so drive to Cluanie, then 5 minutes in, I realised I'd left both my soft shell jacket and camera on the couch,,quick turnaround and back on the road at 4.
Uneventful journey north but hit a bit of the white stuff falling in Glencoe and then much heavier around Invergarry and over to Loch Garry meaning I had to slow right down on the slippy bends.
Met up with John at the wee carpark before the Inn, the tent was already pitched further down the road under the little bridge. Lovely peaceful spot with amazing early morning views.
The start point is a mile or so back down the lochside, headed down to boot up in the big layby.
John suggested we miss out the Corbett, Am Bathach, as it was already 9am and I'm not the fastest so we headed up past the side of the old Glenshiel forest, now felled, and on through An Caorann Beag. This had to be THE boggiest place around. No respite from snow covered pits of sludge and mire. I'm still getting used to this winter walking and the extra weight of the boots and added kit in the pack certainly make a difference when taking a run up to a boggy bit. (John commented the next day that I was tip-toeing a bit, and with my new yeti gaiters, I shouldn't need to,, point taken but old habits and all that)
We stuck roughly to the GPS track but at this point, it didnt matter, visibility was good and we could see the Bealach a Choinich ahead with An Cnapach pointing brilliant white against a blue sky. Little did we know, this wasn't the summit lol (Impressive though).
We had seen a flurry or two of snow on the way, but nothing too bad, I was still in my shell top and single gloves. As the ground levelled under the descent from Am Bathach, we saw two more walkers below us to the East, too far down to have come off the Corbett, so think they may have approached from the next glen, An Caorann Mor.
The weather had been forecast as gusty and so far we had a fair bit of shelter in the glen, but as we started climbing, now on more solid snow, we were buffeted around a bit and the sight of huge spindrifts swirling on the peaks around us, a timely reminder of what conditions to expect at the top.
It's quite a trudge up to An Cnapach, and John announced (he saw it first) that he didnt think I'd be sitting on the top, there was a huge cornice stretching out. I might add, at this point, we STILL thought this was the summit!
The views around Glensheil and Kintail today were fantastic.
Coming up to the fabulous point, we could now see the other walkers behind us. What we could also see was what was still to come, another 2 peaks laid out in front, with the true summit off in the distance, white and jagged and far away lol
We settled down to layer up and put on helmets as the ground was starting to slip off at quite an angle to our left. When the other walkers passed us, they were already in crampons, axes out etc and we could see the smooth snow cover they were then on was in fact solid, no sign of footprints, only the spikes visible as you reached them, so, no risks,,for the first time,,I was going to be wearing my crampons. Strapped in tightly, axe at the ready,,,oooooh,,this was exciting,,,even had my nice new purple helmet on.
I'd watched a few videos about self arrest, crampons etc and tried to run through it as I walked,,,without losing concentration, practising in my head what I would do if I slipped,,,what pitch would I scream at???
I was very impressed with the crampons, they just got down and did their job. Fantastic (I bought Grivel G10s, second hand but never used, on Ebay,,but on receiving them,,they are actually G12 New Standard,,which are prob not totally right for my Cristallo boots, there were gaps around the bales but they felt totally secure,,,will do some research into that for the future.
There is a long sloping approach to the second top, unnamed at 929 mtrs but as John had already advised,,this was an arete and we could see the cornicing to our right as well as the very deep holes made by the two guys axes. Mental note,,stay left!
The snow was coming and going, also being shifted around when not falling from the sky but this was an exhilarating experience, wind, snow, white mountains,, me with all the gear (and a semblence of an idea) and a patient guide to boot. My hands got pretty cold here but managed to pocked them one at a time to heat up,,no need for the new mitts just yet.
We lost sight of the 2 ahead of us but as the ridge arcs round to the right and up to the amazing sight of Ciste Dhubh, we spotted them behind a rock and scrambling up the steepest part of the summit.
I was pretty tired here, again, possibly the extra weight, boots, pack and using the crampons, my legs were feeling it. Couldn't turn back now ,,,could I? lol
The last section was pretty steep and very windy, as it eased slightly , John rounded the summit and announced back to me "its just here" but the wind was so bad, he may actually have said, "hurry up ya slow bint" I'll opt for the first one
Made it, 979 mtrs , seriously windy, ice axes planted in the snow and anything beyond was on the cliff edge. 2 pics taken,,Im not looking at all happy in mine but I can assure you,,the sense of achievement was fab,,felt really intrepid
But, where had the other walkers gone???? We hadn't passed them on the way up to the summit. A look around showed them heading North West into Coire na h-Eiridh, can only assume they were planning to arc round again and back down An Caorann Mor.
We didn't hang around up there,,on our heels and back down. It was 2pm by now and we really needed to get back to the glen floor before dark.
This is where it all goes a bit nasty. My boots that have been uber comfy all day suddenly start squeezing the life out of my toes,,,toe bang I believe may be a term for this. And to make matters worse,,my hip started hurting too,,,lucky white heather anyone?
We made it down to the valley floor, me some considerable way behind John on the steep descent down to the bealach. I was having to keep my feet side-on to stop the bumping but it was seriously painful. John (bless that mans patience) had the stove on at the bottom, time for a few spoonfuls of noodles and a tuna roll. Packed up and headed off down the valley, with the light fading fast.
I was such a total lightweight from here on, but now with two sore hips and my toes screaming out to be amputated, it was a matter of me swearing, growling ,,,anything to vent the frustration of this pain. Poor John, he knows I wasn't swearing AT him lol and I was such a big girl, trying to hold back the tears,,unsuccessfully lol.
Still, it had its moments, as the light failed and a bright shiny moon appeared above the corbett, the surroundings looked magical.
We had a bit of a blizzard behind us higher up the glen and our packs still bore the frozen stuff, packed into the nooks and crannies.
Down we went and then,,,,,,,we hit the old forest, in the dark, head torches are fine but as I moved left to avoid the massive bog JT ended up in, I hit large and very slippy felled trees. Did my best to stick to the smaller branches etc but ended up with my right leg, down a hole up to my thigh. This was not the most fun Ive had in my life lol
The last stretch seemed to go on forever but then the cars on the road got closer and we made it down, a couple of hundred yards along the road to the car, my toes were numb with pain and I was a bit hen-toed on that last bit. Had a total melt down in my car after John left, what a blouse! lol
Still,,,got jammied up,,clothes for the morning on top, back to the tent for a chicken curry,,,which after Johns stove getting wet, nearly never happened,
Johns stove, not sparking,
Johns lighter, not sparking
My stove, not in the bag it should have been,,, aaaaarrrrrggggghh
Oh fab,,found it in another bag
So,,we did have hot food afterall,, small bottle of red for me,, beer for John, and a wee swig or two from the hip flask. Sleep. (cold cold night,,quilt under me,,sleeping bag over, 3 layers,,socks on feet and hands , hat,,and still shivering a bit during the night)
This was a strenuous day for me, been about a month since I did anything big but the good bits FAR outweighed the bad bits, sore toes heal and the wonderful views live on. Munro 63 for me.
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by mrssanta » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:45 pm
by GillC » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:17 pm
by gammy leg walker » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:32 pm
by AnnieMacD » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:53 pm
by GillC » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:05 pm
by lomondwalkers » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:23 pm
by Tomsie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:12 pm
Didnt fancy tucking into that cold curry just as well you had stove with you.
Not once did I think that peak was the summit
Looking forward to Sgritheall report, this was another good one.
by SAVAGEALICE » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:24 pm
by GillC » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:26 pm
by tomyboy73 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:05 am
by wilkiemurray » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:00 pm
Cracking part of the country and camping in the winter too - respect!
- Posts: 1332
- Joined: Jan 26, 2012
- Location: Perthshire
by pollyh33 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:28 am
Can't believe the hardships you went through on and off the hill and you still managed to keep so upbeat!
If this had been me writing up this walk it would have been a tale of woe!!! Or more probably a tale of whoa !!!! I'm not going any further!
Well done to you and my favourite Irishman living in Aberdeenshire xx
by jenniferc6 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:52 am
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