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Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!


Postby GillC » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:33 pm

Munros included on this walk: Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Date walked: 14/06/2014

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 5.6 km

Ascent: 768m

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An out of the blue suggestion from John, based on my saying I still wanted to do Curved Ridge, resulted in a half day outing on Saturday, before heading for the Aonachs on Sunday. My only comment was, if its wet, its OFF :roll:

I've been on Stob Dearg twice before, once when doing the Buachille ridge and once on a marvellous day last September for Scoob and Fi's joint compleation / proposal day :clap: I'd had the option that day of doing the Curved Ridge but wimped out amongst strangers lol and been kicking myself ever since, so was more than a little excited to get a chance now.

We left Glasgow around 10am, arriving at Altnafeadh before 12. As the track here leaves the A82, there is a serious risk of removing the undercarriage of your car where the surface just drops off into oblivion. The car park area was already pretty full so we negotiated our way over the boulders on the track and down towards the footbridge where we found a small spot to park.

Kitted up in my birthday Scarpa hill shoes, helmet in hand, and feeling only a little nervous, off we went.

The forecast was ok, but we knew there was a risk of showers and sure enough, we could see the little white, fuzzy isolated showers moving across Rannoch Moor to our left, bad thing was, they were heading our way and pretty much straight after, we were walking the path in rain. Not heavy downpour rain, just the kind that soaks you through :lol: Thankfully, it didn't last too long.

1 Up to the big guy.JPG
Up to the big guy


We were overtaken on the path by 3 young guys, no kit, only a water bottle each. As we passed round and under the crags above, we could pick out tiny figures on top, silhouetted against the skyline. With the rain all but off now, we paused under the water slabs, fine place for a shower on a hot day lol

Crossing a steep rocky burn descent, the colour of the rock has the same pinky tinge you get on the summit rock, yet everything above us was grey.

2 Sure this would be a spectacle in winter.JPG
Sure this would be a spectacle in winter

3 Approaching the slabs.JPG
Approaching the slabs


Continuing further round, we could see the 3 guys who passed us, heading up a gully to the right of Rannoch Wall. This didn't compute as Curved Ridge but we started off more of less under where they were. Helmets on, and eye on the showers moving in we scooted quickly up the first sections. Some bits were wet and a bit slippy which worried me a little at this point.

5 Cloud rollng around the top.JPG
Cloud rolling around the top


The position of Rannoch Wall, up to our left, meant we were not actually on Curved Ridge, so at a point above a water course, we crossed over and below RW. This now started to look familiar to John from his previous ascents.

6 A preoccupied John on the path up.JPG
A preoccupied John on the path up

8 The only way is up.JPG
The only way is up

7 Having a scramble.JPG
Having a scramble


We could see people on the Wall, picked out and roped-up to colleagues above and below, shouting out instructions, status and positioning info as they made their way up. Two other climbers could now be seen below (I think they followed our ascent path)

This is where the fun, and I mean FUN begins.

John lead the way for a bit, letting me pick up where to go and see what route he took etc, generally let me find my feet. No problems whatsoever, loved it. With the odd bit of searching for hand holds, toe grips etc I happily hauled myself up and over the crags.

8b  Showing my best side.JPG
Showing my best side

11 Its a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll.JPG
Its a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll

12 Me, looking all intrepid.JPG
Me, looking all intrepid


One section, John advised, had previously had a sling attached to aid ascent and we had brought a length of rope to help out as the sling wasn't there on his last visit. On reaching this section, it was a slightly sloping incline, very smooth at the bottom and still wet from the rain. I watched as John shuffled up, paying attention to where he put his feet etc. As soon as he was up, I started off too, no sling required. I had a slight slip at the bottom, but I was only 1ft off the ground at that point :lol: Good spot for some pics so had to stop once or twice to pose and look intrepid hehehe

9 Slippiest part of the day.JPG
Slippiest part of the day

10 Nearly there.JPG
Nearly there


The views back to Rannoch Moor, over the Kingshouse Hotel were fantastic. Creise and Meall a Bhuiridh to the South East were still topped with cloud. Thankfully, the isolated showers we could still see, all passed us by, no more rain for us.

15 Criese under cloud.JPG
Creise under cloud

14 Well deserved breather.JPG
Well deserved breather


We stopped for a bit to watch the climbers on the Wall beside us, its previously sloping angle now gone, it looked sheer and totally vertical from here, a different league indeed! :shock: and still the two climbers below followed on up.

13 Tiny figures picked out on the Rannoch Wall.JPG
Tiny figures picked out on the Rannoch Wall


Reaching a small ledge, the next step up was about 5ft high, with a pretty smooth long face to it. I had a wander back and forward to check for the best way up, plumped for a foot hold about 3ft off the ledge and tried to push,,2 attempts later, John decided to just give me a helping hand. Got the fright of my life lol but it got me up off the ledge :lol:

A couple of guys with wound up ropes passed on their way back down as we continued the scramble up. I honestly kept waiting for the "difficult bits" but they never really materialised. This is the problem when you hear youtube videos on the Ridge, talking about "a particularly nasty bit of scrambling". I'd psyched myself up for a really hard task.

Before long, we came up at the cairn to mark the top of Curved Ridge, it was almost a "is that it?" moment lol Seriously elated at having done that.

Crowberry Tower was now rising above us, could there be a chance I would make it up there? I'd seen Bod, Val, Fi and Scoob, Graham, Stevie and others on the tower when I was on the summit last summer but it seemed a bit too much to a novice like me. Buoyed by Johns assurance that it was actually easier than what we had just done, I decided I'd give it a try. Cornering up to the right into Crowberry Gap we dropped our packs here, decision to both go up, then I would stay and let John scramble down then further up towards the summit to get my picture.

The hardest part of the tower was the first 6-7 feet. Wet, mossy, smooth rock led up to a small ledge and the start of the 'path' round the outside of the tower. John up first with me scrambling up behind. The feeling being up there is amazing, open views all around, barely a breath of wind (good job :roll: ) and li'l ole me, up there. John scooted off down again and I soon saw him scrambling like a mountain goat up the rocks towards the summit of Stob Dearg. Couple of iconic 'Tower' pics taken and a last look round before making my way down again. One wee slip on the descent on the outside edge was enough to bring me to my senses,,,concentrate woman,,concentrate! :shock:

17 Top of the world,, well Crowberry Tower anyway.JPG
Top of the world,, well Crowberry Tower anyway

16 Crowburry Gap.jpg
Crowberry Gap


Back down to the gap and I could hear voices below, probably the 2 guys we saw below us earlier but the never actually reappeared, even on our way down I didn't see anyone else behind us. Rucksack back on and with Johns pack still there too, I thought I'd do him a favour and carry it up a bit, thinking he would be back down any minute to get it. Not he! started with it over my left shoulder, slipped off, right shoulder? slipped off, then carrying in either hand but that got in the way of scrambling, so I just pushed it up a few feet at a time in front of me, haha his face when i told him, straight to the GPS to make sure it wasn't in bits lol

2 minutes later, we arrived at the summit cairn, about 2.5hrs to get here from the car. I've been very lucky on my 3 trips to Stob Dearg, been very windy on 1 occasion but all 3 have given me great views, good weather and that 'top of the world' feeling. Some kind boys took our picture at the summit before we headed off.

18 3rd time at the top.JPG
3rd time at the top


We passed several people approaching from the gully ascent. Lovely day, sun out and great to see people out and about. Dropped off the descent path and picked our way down. Something happened on the way down that rarely happens to me, even on the downhill. We overtook, yes, went faster than, 2 other couples lol. The hill trainers certainly made it much easier to get some speed up on the way down. We went a slightly different way and ended up at the bottom of a rock filled gully, but still had a path of sorts to follow under a vertical wall to our left.

Back to the car, 4hrs in total.

Looking back, this hill never fails to deliver. I loved every minute of this. Not having had too long to worry about it and Johns support and advice on the way up all helped make this an amazing day I won't forget and will be talking about for a while yet (Sorry John!! :roll: )
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GillC
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby MunroMadMen » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:36 pm

Great pics and a great read, looks like you guys had a brill day, was there on Monday and loved it, weathet was outstanding.....

think I'll leave the ridge for now though ;)
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:52 pm

Well done Gill, fantastic report :clap: :clap:
Just glad we went up the 'easy' way on Monday :lol:

What's next on the horizon?
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby GillC » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:54 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Well done Gill, fantastic report :clap: :clap:
Just glad we went up the 'easy' way on Monday :lol:

What's next on the horizon?


Cheers Martin, been checking out your pics too,,cracking day you guys had.

Not sure whats next, will plan this weekend in a couple of days,,weathers looking good for a while yet. so who knows :D
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby Tomsie » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:16 pm

Glad it stayed dry, wouldn't like to be up there when raining.

That push sorry I missed haha.

Legs were tired to get the bag :wink: :lol:
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:38 pm

That looked like fun, Gill - one for a summer afternoon I think
Thanks for posting
Al
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby scoob999 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:03 pm

The best scrambling on the mainland IMO :D
Well done :clap: :clap: must do it again this year! maybe an anniversary walk :wink:
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby GillC » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:14 pm

scoob999 wrote:The best scrambling on the mainland IMO :D
Well done :clap: :clap: must do it again this year! maybe an anniversary walk :wink:


I'd be up there again in a flash,,loved every step of it. Maybe see you there :D
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby jupe1407 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:14 am

Tremendous :clap:

I need to do this sometime!
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby Alteknacker » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:34 pm

Yes, CR is a great scramble - I also did it a few weeks ago. Your pics are much better than mine :(

However, I'm glad I looked through an earlier WH report that warned that finding the start was the hardest bit!!!

There are also a few variations on the well-worn route if one wants to up the challenge a bit...
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:36 pm

Looks like a great scramble, Gill. You look pretty confident up there - love the picture of you on top of the Crowberry Tower. No stopping you now!
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby GillC » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:01 am

AnnieMacD wrote:Looks like a great scramble, Gill. You look pretty confident up there - love the picture of you on top of the Crowberry Tower. No stopping you now!


Oh loved it A, seriously good fun. :D
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:34 pm

brilliant :clap: looks like good fun :D take me with you next time you go!! :D :D well done Gill :)
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby jonny616 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:13 pm

Respect Gill. You can guide me and GLW up there next :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Curved Ridge .... YA BEAUTY!

Postby quoman » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:52 am

your my new hero,

next time you and john can take me up there.
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