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Stob a Choin - Bumslides & blisters (these boots HAVE to go)
by GillC » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:19 pm
Route description: Stob a' Choin, from Inverlochlarig
Corbetts included on this walk: Stob a' Choin
Date walked: 09/03/2014
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 996mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
With the weather having been a bit dodgy, Munros were off the agenda. Stevie Blurton had put a shout out re Stob a Choin and after some debate rising from this and Beinn a Choin being side by side,,which one do we all mean etc. it was pinned down to S a C with a meet up time of 9:30am at Inverlochlarig
Scoob and Fi travelling from Dunkeld, Stevie B from Edinburgh any myself and Tomsie from Glasgow,,we all had about an hour and a half journey,,with the last half hour being on the single track road from Kingshouse, through Balquhidder and on to Inverlochlarig. There been a lot of high water recently with signs that the loch had risen over the road with drift wood etc lying around.
Booted up and off along the farm track by 9:45am, we saw a group of 4-5 people heading off up Stob Binnean. Fording the river at two spots,,neither more than a few inches deep so no problems.
As any regular readers of my blog will know,,this is my first winter of real snow walking and my Scarpa Cristallo boots (second hand) have yet to give me a trouble free day. Today,,heels rubbing again and toe knuckles getting it, must be the new insoles reducing the foot cavity, defo going to need bigger boots.
We stopped at the bridge to regroup and this allowed me to put a compeed on my left heel, but to be honest, it didn't make a lot of difference. Blisters on the way up and toe bang on the way down.
Anyway, off we went.
Plenty of snow up on the tops and avalanche scarring, mucky runs of snow and rock where cornices had come away. We could see more untouched cornices further to the right and we planned our route even further right, to a lighter patch of snow behind Amar Stob a Chroin. Some wild deer headed off under the crags as we approached.
Heading diagonally up and across toward the gully under Bealach Coire an Laoigh. As we reached the gully, we could see the WH route coming straight up from the track below,,following the fence line. Where our routes met was high above the gully floor so we headed up the left side for a bit until it levelled out a bit and was narrow enough to jump over with the aid of a rock or two. Before crossing, we had a sandwich break and a discussion about the route up, we had a gradual and fairly steep ascent to this point and were at roughly 460mtrs. Hill height is 869 with the WH ascent showing as 770mtrs.
Crossing the gully, the ascent gets steeper but less boggy than the lower stretches. We had a brief discussion about heading up the left hand section with more snow and a dodgy cornice but took the safer option of the right hand side.
We reached the bottom of some avalanche debris, not too big but impressive none the less, This is probably the closest I've been to this kind of thing and hopefully, never be any closer. The climb up was a slog through wet snow, nothing icy just trudgy up up and up. The snow was punctuated by grassy patches so easy enough going over both. It wasn't until you stopped and looked sideways that you saw the steep gradient we were on, I'm pretty sure a lot of sections were over 45 degrees and with some wee rocky/grassy outcrops, the sticks were often put to the side or thrown up to let me grapple up with hands, knees, feet and elbows.
As we got to the top of the shoulder, we could see the top over to our left, some clag floating around so views were pretty restricted. Off to the first top with its small cairn,,took some pics here then went off to check the other top. This is apparently the right one at 869mtrs but with no cairn. Still, we did both to cover ourselves.
We were going to stop again for a nibble but after a wander round the top, we just headed off down the fenceline. Hadn't gone too far when we checked the map for our route. Turns out we were heading off the south of the summit instead of heading East. Our thinking had been that if we headed East it would would take us back on to some cornices we had seen earlier on our way up but after rechecking, we headed back towards the summit then headed North just underneath, to head over to the top of Bealach Coire an Laoigh. We saw several large cornices and windblown snow formations.
Again we stopped to have a chat about our descent options, back the way we came or over to Meall Reamhar and the ridge down Creag nan Saighead. We could see the ridge in the clag, but there seemed to be 2 big drops between which again posed the question, whats down in the dips, lots of snow, hidden crags and crevices etc????
We wandered around, checking out the options and Stevie offered the option of a steep bumslide down. The second dip looked ominous and the thought of coming back up this way if it proved impassible in these conditions was a bit daunting, but, in for a penny. Stevie went off down the slide, followed by Scoob and Fi. I went next, the tricky steps down to the launch pad was a bit hairy, steep, muddy, slushy and rocky. To get to a good slide position involved, walking along a ledge, face in,,then somehow turning round and crossing the thin snow on the rocky edge and out far enough to start the slide. First slide of the day,,utterly fab! fast and steep. All down and off we went again.
We had a few more small ascents but by this time,,the 770mtrs predicted txt had been blown out of the water by Scoobs GPS gadget, over 900mtrs by now.
Some areas of snow were showing signs of cracking and sliding and we did spend a lot of time working out routes. John used his recently acquired winter skills to cut a section and do the pull test, an 18" thick slab came away very easily with soft melt underneath, not the most stable of surfaces. We opted to stay high and cross one at a time. All safe.
Thankfully, the second dip over Meall Reamhar was almost non existent but gave us plenty of opportunity for more sliding.
Some really steep sections, where Stevie disappeared down a crack in the snow looking for a slide, had to be pulled out by John. He reckoned this was over crags as his feet hadn't hit the ground, only snow. A bit higher up, and a few slides later, we crossed to the top of the ridge.
Heading down, we had a good view back to the summit, that first point, with the cairn definitely looked higher than the second, which looked higher from the top lol
With a couple of hundred meters of relatively shallow descent we then started off down a steeper section. The boot issue reared its ugly head again so I had to stay on the sides of my feet as much as possible to reduce the toe bang. The hillside was made up of natural grassy steps so when clear of the snow, it was fairly easy going but the constant descent soon brought on the wobbly knees and clicky hip (shoot me now ). I could see Scoob and Fi off over the fence and heading for the bridge, a good guage of how far I had to go. Reaching the fence, joined up with Stevie and John again, quick breather and a drink and off again. Much more gradual slope here, compared to our ascent that we could see over to our left (it looks a lot steeper from here than it did earlier when looking up at it)
I reached the bridge around 4:45pm and back at the cars around 5:15pm, less than 8 hrs which included at least one wrong direction/retrace our steps and much pointing/debating our route etc. My first time out since my winter skills 3 weeks earlier, a bout of man flu and a carb filled week in Paris, I did not too badly. Only real issue I had was the old feet again, so with this in mind, I'm off to Tiso tomorrow to get measured up for snow boots, got a feeling my standard boot size of 5 does not apply to these rigid babies.
Thanks to Stevie for the post/route suggestion and to everyone for a great day out. Topped off by a wee pint of Belhaven Best at Mhor 84 (cheers SB )
our_route.gpx Open full screen NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts
by thebaldfalcon » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:05 pm
by fipriestley » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:45 pm
- Stob a'Choin outing :)
by GillC » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:03 pm
by goth_angel » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:59 pm
You could try Mammut boots? Tend to come up a bit bigger but I still get 8s (my usual size is 7 1/2)
by GillC » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:09 pm
by Tomsie » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:53 pm
by scoob999 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:06 pm
Tomsie wrote:Another great day. Even if I was down a pole
judging by the pics/video we reckon you had them when you done that memorable bum slide
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