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Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1


Postby 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: 1301m

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First Munro of 2014 planned (does a failed repeat of Narnain count??)

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.

1 View up to Ciste Dhubh from our camp..jpg
View up to Ciste Dhubh from our camp.


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)

2 Some deer,,of many we saw this morning.JPG
Some deer,,of many we saw this morning

3 Back down the glen to Loch Cluanie.JPG
Back down the glen to Loch Cluanie

4 On up to the bealach.JPG
On up to the bealach


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).

7 First glimpse of An Cnapach.JPG
First glimpse of An Cnapach

8 John with Cnapach under his erse!.jpg
John with Cnapach under his erse!

9 Drat that wooly glove.jpg
Arty or what? (what?!)


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.


10  Still thinking that was the summit.jpg
Still thinking that was the summit

10b a wee selfy.jpg
A wee selfy

10c Looking wistful.jpg
Looking wistful


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! :roll:

10d An Cnapach.jpg
An Cnapach


The views around Glensheil and Kintail today were fantastic.

6 Lovely skies.JPG
Lovely skies

5 Views around.JPG
Views around


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. :wink:

10f Looking the part.jpg
Looking the part


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??? :lol:

10e First outing in crampons,  epic!.jpg
First outing in crampons, epic!


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! :shock:

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.

11 Now THAT'S the summit.jpg
Now THAT'S 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 :lol:

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 :D

12 Made it!  Munro #63.jpg
Made it! Munro #63


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.

13 Rising moon.JPG
Rising moon


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.

14 Frozen!.jpg
Frozen!


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)

Tomorrow,,,,Beinn Sgritheall

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. :clap:
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Last edited by GillC on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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GillC
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one

Postby mrssanta » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:45 pm

Well done Gill that was fantastic!
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one

Postby GillC » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:17 pm

Thanks MrsS,,,a true day of ups and downs lol :lol:
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:27 pm

Well done...
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one

Postby gammy leg walker » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:32 pm

Great effort both of you.
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:53 pm

Fantastic WR and well done you for keeping going. That amount of snow would scare me to death!
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby GillC » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:05 pm

Thanks Annie,,to be honest,,its not until afterwards the amount of snow and any dangers really sinks in,,,at the time,,its just "keep moving" lol :crazy:
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby lomondwalkers » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:23 pm

That was magic 8) :clap: Cannae whack a day like that on the hills in Winter. Crampons are fab, I hope they get a good few more outings before the snow goes
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby Tomsie » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:12 pm

Good day Gill, you were flying before Xmas so wont be long before your back, plus the sickness didnt help.
Didnt fancy tucking into that cold curry :lol: just as well you had stove with you. :D

Not once did I think that peak was the summit :oops: :oops:

Looking forward to Sgritheall report, this was another good one. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:24 pm

Enjoy reading your reports :clap: :clap: some great piccies there too :D :thumbup:
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby GillC » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:26 pm

Thanks Alice, i enjoy writing them too lol :D
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby tomyboy73 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:05 am

Well done Gill, great report, looks like a great mountain too, still to venture up that area, just drove through it once. When i first went out with axe and crampons , i practised self arrest on every slope i could see, still do. Don`t want the first time you do it to be in an emergency situation, and it`s fun :)
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby wilkiemurray » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:00 pm

Really enjoyed reading both your reports - hope your toes get better soon!

Cracking part of the country and camping in the winter too - respect!

good stuff :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby pollyh33 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:28 am

Super de dooper report young lady.

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
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Re: Ciste ma a$$, am Dhubh'in this one - Kintail, Day 1

Postby jenniferc6 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:52 am

Well done, Glenshiel is a brilliant area although I haven't done any winter hills there yet. Great photos :)
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