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A Wintery Forcan Ridge

A Wintery Forcan Ridge


Postby sneaks » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:56 pm

Route description: The Saddle, Forcan Ridge and Sgurr na Sgine

Munros included on this walk: The Saddle

Date walked: 28/02/2013

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Bright and early on Wednesday morning, we headed up to Glen Shiel with plans to do the two Munros A’Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch Choire, via the Mullach Fraoch Choire South Ridge (winter grade I). However, the winds picked up as we were nearing the summit of A’Chralaig and since we were both struggling to stay upright, we decided to turn around and leave South Ridge for another day.

Thursday morning we woke to repeat the mighty Forcan Ridge in Glen Shiel, this time in winter conditions. When driving the Glen Shiel road to Skye, the Forcan Ridge stands overlooking the length of the valley from its elevated position, inspiring awe.

After our 11 hour long (and rather uncomfortable) sleep in the car, we set off. We made quick progress up the approach path which was in summerlike condition until just before the bealach, where it became icy in places. The snow line was sitting at around 500m and was mostly well frozen and firm under foot, giving easy walking conditions to the start of the ridge.

The ridge is a relatively straight forward summer scramble and in winter conditions it is much the same, bar a few tricky moves due to ice and snow filling useful hand and foot placements. We were lucky in that the snow was wind scoured and well consolidated in an almost alpine like condition providing quick progress along the ridge.

After many airy traverses, ‘bad steps’ and exposed sections, you eventually are met with either a downclimb/abseil or the option to avoid it via a steep descent to the east. In the interest of speed and efficiency we opted to take the descent to the east, however, depending on the conditions the abseil may be the only choice so always take a rope.

Image
Keith on one of the trickier sections
From here you gain the ridge proper again, past the shark fin rocks and soak up the atmosphere and views from the last long section of undulating ridge to reach the summit trig point of The Saddle (1011m).

Image
Looking back towards our route of ascent
A few photos later and we dropped down to the south east to escape the wind and had lunch in the snowhole conveniently left from a group bivvying the previous night, then began our descent off the hill.

Image
Forcan Ridge, taken from the descent
In winter the slopes of The Saddle to the east can present avalanche danger in the wrong conditions but were in a stable condition on Thursday after all of the strong easterly winds. The shoulder was fairly wind scoured and gave us an easy descent.

A couple of hours later and we were back at the car, faced with our 4 hour drive home to Edinburgh after an excellent winter day out :-)

Image
The start of Forcan Ridge at sunset

We recently invested in a Go Pro for skiing and biking, but tried it out on Forcan Ridge, so…below is a short 2 minute video of our day. I’m just figuring out how to use the software so for some reason the video has exported in a square shape. Will need to spend a lot more time researching and practising my video editting skills over the next few weeks!


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Hope you all enjoy.

Keith :)
sneaks
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby soapy27 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:05 pm

Looks amazing in the snow :thumbup:
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby wilkiemurray » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:07 pm

some great shots there - away to watch vid :clap:
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby sneaks » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:27 pm

Thanks guys.

The video is just under 3 minutes and all the footage has been sped up to show the bulk of the best sections.

It was an amazing ridge to do in the summer and just as good, if not better, in winter conditions. :)
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby wilkiemurray » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:02 pm

Couldn't find video sneaks ? Tried copying and pasting into bar but no luck ?:(
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby Scotjamie » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:34 pm

Great report there sneaks...and some great pics

I enjoyed this (just outwith my comfort zone)
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby rockhopper » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:12 pm

Nice set of photos - looking at the video, not sure I'd want to try it in winter though. If only the weather was like that just now :roll: - cheers :)
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby sneaks » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:17 pm

Thanks for the comments guys :)
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby Lackadaisy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:52 pm

Great report and beautiful pics.... the ridge looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the video too, really helpful for getting a feel for how technical the ridge would be in winter conditions.
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:36 pm

Top marks for the photo's thought the video made it look proper scary, I won't be trying that or anything remotely scary in winter conditions.
The ridge does look amazing, especially with the white stuff on it.
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby Lightfoot2017 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:31 pm

Oh. My. Word. :shock: :shock: :shock:

To quote Muriel Gray, that should be renamed "The Ridge of the Brown Underpants", cos that's what I was going through just watching that!! :lol:

Amazing wee video guys, well done!! :clap:
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:31 am

Great report, brilliant "mountain porn" pix - I'd have been even happier with 10 more! The video made me feel sea-sick! And the ridge looked massively more technical than I remember it (in summer) from 15 or so years ago - is this a trick of the camera??
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby scooby0511 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:21 pm

Very nice and excellent video, well done
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby coachmacca » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:06 pm

Awesome!! I really want to tackle this route !
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Re: A Wintery Forcan Ridge

Postby sneaks » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:11 pm

Thanks for the comments guys.

The video does make it look a little spicier than it is.
However, I would recommend not just jumping on it without experience in winter scrambling.
:)
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