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Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:45 pm

Munros included on this walk: Gulvain

Date walked: 16/02/2014

Time taken: 7.56 hours

Distance: 21.8 km

Ascent: 1404m

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Another frustrating week with weather and avalanche warnings dominating and making life more difficult than it needs to be. Had decided to try going back up by Glenfinnan and climb Gaor Bheinn which had eluded us last week - leaving her for Sunday when the weather forecast was more promising. Had toyed with the idea of going up a Corbett on the road up on Saturday- maybe Beinn a'Chrulaiste - but got scared off by avalanche warnings on Friday night and instead left to drive up late morning and kicked myself when driving by aforesaid mountain and seeing that it would have been a straightforward climb, without too much snow on the ascent route I'd considered. B'ah :evil: Anyway, it wasn't a bad drive up and got to the Loch Linnhe Caravan park mid afternoon - time for a walk along the beach and some cracking views of Aonach Mor white clad and impressive. Then the rain came on :roll:

P1000008 by 23weasels, on Flickr

At least it gave a restful night and we were up at 6.30 to get set for the day's walk. Thin layer of ice on the tent as we packed it down. Drove along to the start of the Road to the Isles where the parking spot is and headed off up Gleann Fionnlighe. After a little shower of rain it was shaping up to be a good looking day and the walk along the glen was lovely - river tinkling along by our side through the beech and ash, occasional waterfalls on the hillside. Ahead we could see the white dome of Gaor Bheinn rising. I'd read several reports that mentioned the steepness heading up - this would test out my new fitness regime :lol:

First sight of Gaor Bheinn
P1000010 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000011 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000012 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000014 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000016 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View back to Moidart
P1000019 by 23weasels, on Flickr

After maybe an hour and a half we started to ascend the beginnings of the mountain - a look at the GPS confirmed my worst fears - only 123metres at this stage after walking for so long... The snowline began at about 300m - we were able to follow the path until it disappeared below quite deep snow, already with a thin crust on it. Because we were walking quite cautiously in the snow, the ascent didn't seem too tough - surprised to get up to the 855m knobble without being out of breath. However, the wind, which had been rising steadily and now pelted us with sharp hail, meaning it was goggles time. A short pull up to the south top where a most unusual ice mushroom rose from the trig point. Before us lay the challenging bit - the ridge along to the north top. I was a wee bit worried about this, as there might be cornice along the narrow ridge, plus the wind was blowing right across our direction of travel. Stopped for an early lunch to ensure adequate fuel for the task.

P1000020 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Meall a'Phuibill
P1000023 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View west
P1000025 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Approaching south top
P1000027 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000028 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Ice Mushroom
P1000030 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Mushroom with north top beyond
P1000032 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Set off carefully along the ridge - the wind had sculpted the snow into a range of whorls and waves and it wasn't always clear where the mountain lay...in general kept to the east side of the crest, but aware of a very steep snow slope below us. Slowly does it, however, and it was up to the north top - ice axe to the ready. Up to the top to find the cairn had been buried - ah well. The weather did us a favour at this time point, with the wind dropping to nothing and the sun gleaming on the snow and the surrounding mountains. A quick video of the tops - north to loch quoich, over to the west our hills from last week and behind the corbetts of Moidart. Truly nice to be out on a day like this with some views for a change.

Tasty ridge
P1000033 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000038 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000039 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000041 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000044 by 23weasels, on Flickr

North top
P1000046 by 23weasels, on Flickr

49 to go!!
P1000048 by 23weasels, on Flickr

We retraced our steps, Sick Kid being a little cautious and headed back over to the south top - had taken just over an hour to go between the tops and back. Weather continued to be sunny and quite warm, with occasional blasts of wind. The descent was pretty easy with big strides interspersed with the occasional bum slide - great :lol: Warm enough as we descended to shed outer layers and put on the sunglasses.

P1000050 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Still being very serious :crazy:
P1000052 by 23weasels, on Flickr

West to sgurr thuilm
P1000053 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back down gleann fionnlighe
P1000056 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000060 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking back
P1000061 by 23weasels, on Flickr

P1000063 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Final view
P1000064 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Back at the car for 4pm, still bright and sunny and a better drive down than I was expecting - stopped in at the Clachaig for a bite to eat. Great day - so pleased we got to climb this hill on a day with good views.

P1000066 by 23weasels, on Flickr
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:05 pm

Really enjoyed your report - great photos too. Love the one of the whorling snow.
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby rockhopper » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:12 pm

Nice one, WM - good day for it despite deep snow and wind - cheers :)
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby ceaser » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:25 pm

fine report and pictures ,hoping to get this done soon :D
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:40 am

A fine hill and some grand photos :clap:
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby malky_c » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:20 pm

Finally a walk where you aren't drowning or freezing! Looked like a fine day out :) . Planning to go up Gulvain from the NE sometime this year for a change.
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Re: Gaor Bheinn - Glenfinnan Revisited

Postby soapy27 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:57 am

Great report the WM :clap: looks a cracking ridge in winter conditions
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