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Apr Munroing Pt.3-A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Apr Munroing Pt.3-A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 04, 2010 4:07 am

Route description: Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig, near Tyndrum

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Oss

Date walked: 19/04/2010

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We’d now left Bridge of Orchy bunkhouse and headed to Crianlarich. Although a few days before when we’d passed through the hills were more or less clear of snow, they now had quite a bit more as it had snowed every night (but luckily been quite clear and sunny – but bitterly cold and windy – through the day). Our final day’s walking so we decided we’d do Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss...

We parked up at Dalrigh where there were quite a few cars already, however, many were either going off on the WHW tracks or were mountain bikers. We set off behind a guy with a yellow pack and a couple both wearing blue. There is quite a long walk along a roadway and vehicle-type track and then we noticed the people ahead suddenly struck off to the right across bog towards the river. They must know the location of the bridge I thought... The boggy track reached the river bridge in a few yards – there had been a cairn where you turn off but it would have been just like us not to notice it if we’d not been following someone!

Once over the river, a fairly faint-in-places, boggy path heads up through the very pretty natural woodland - Beinn Dubhchraig somehow looked a long way off...

As we headed up and up through the trees, me admiring them but Richard scowling behind as it was a boggy and grassy walk – 2 things he hates, I kept noticing the mountain never seemed to get any nearer. I hoped Richard wasn’t noticing this as well as the bogginess or I’d have a revolt on my hands and end up walking alone! The 3 deer fences mentioned in the books had long gone... After probably about an hour, we broke out of the woodland just after some waterfalls and continued up fairly boggy grass beside the pretty burn, me still smiling and Richard scowling more. It was sunny and warm out of the wind...
Beinn Challuim fm Beinn Dubhchraig ascent.jpg
Beinn Challuim & co fm Beinn Dubhchraig ascent.jpg

Mr & Mrs Blue (as we’d taken to calling them) had zoomed ahead of everyone and we were getting quite left behind. Never mind, we were soon climbing onto the end of the ridge. Richard really started to lag behind now – I was musing on the fact that only yesterday, I’d been the one lagging behind as I’d been feeling terrible – now I was going great guns and the situation had reversed. By the top of the grassy shoulder we reached the snow line and I stopped to wait for Richard – we weren’t far off the small shoulder with the lochan. I’d had a glimpse over the edge of the ridge to our future descent to the col between Dubhchraig and Oss and had started to worry. The slope down to the col looked really steep and also was snowy and looked like it could be icy.
Ben Oss fm Dubhchraig ascent ridge.jpg
with the steep looking descent to col on left!
Ben Lui over Ben Oss shoulder.jpg

We reached the lochan shoulder and I was just about to strike off up the snow on the ridge when Richard shouted at me to stop. He told me just to leave his flask and that he’d do Dubhchraig at his leisure and see me back at the lochan after I’d done Ben Oss! After my quick glimpse of the apparent fierce descent to the col I didn’t want to be on my own so asked him what was wrong, hoping I could put whatever it was right. He said I was going way too fast, he was knackered and had no intention of doing Ben Oss. I promised to slow down (think I’d been subconsciously competing with the people ahead as usual) and told him I needed him at least to get me down to the col. I said we’d have a rest. I was wondering whether he didn’t really like the look of the snowy ridge ascent ahead...
Beinn Dubhchraig fm lochan shoulder.jpg

We had a quick break then he said to set off up the ridge and he followed. The snow was really great to walk on, firm with just the right amount of bite for your boots. In any case, I said if we weren’t happy with the grip on the descent, we could put on our microspikes... The ridge seemed to be over in seconds and there was a very short walk across to the summit. The views to the South were precipitious but good – all the Arrochar Alps were in view, plus Loch and Ben Lomond. Further east and south-east there were great views of Ben More & Stobinian round to Ben Chabhair. We didn’t stay long however as I was fretting about the descent to the col...

The snow was fine to re-descend – perfect grip! We followed the little path to the left of the frozen lochan and towards the edge... I looked over... it was completely fine! I told Richard I didn’t need him for the descent after all but he said he’d come down and see how he felt on the col. A few minutes later we reached the col and headed to a sheltered area in the sun for a break, some cake and a hot drink. He decided he would continue...
Beinn Dubhchraig descent ridge fm col.jpg
Beinn Dubhchraig & lochan behind.jpg
Beinn Dubhchraig corrie fm Oss.jpg
... and of course the hills to the north...
Beinn Dubhchraig fm Oss ascent.jpg
Ben Lui fm Ben Oss ascent.jpg

We went over the subsidiary peak on the ascent and said we’d probably descend via the normal route which traverses south round it. It was a steep haul up the grassy slope but pretty snow free. I was wondering how much descent we’d have to do before the climb up Ben Oss proper but, when we got there, we found it was barely anything at all.
Ben Oss fm subsidiary top.jpg

The next part of the climb was up crisp, thick snow all the way. We plodded steadily upwards – our boots biting crisply into the snow. I was really enjoying myself and took a few photos on the way up. Ben Lui looked very dramatic off to our right!
Ben Oss ascent snow patterns.jpg
Ben Oss - nearing summit.jpg
Ben Lui fm Ben Oss north ridge.jpg

Suddenly, as the slope lessened, we found the snow disappeared completely and we came out of the biting wind into shelter and sun. We sat just down the back of the summit looking to totally unfamiliar hills and were joined by the guy with the yellow pack who’d come up the normal route round the subsidiary peak – he looked up what some of the hills were (they weren’t on my Harvey’s but were on the OS map he had). We got to talking about... Walkhighlands! I asked him if he posted but he said not as yet – I introduced myself as the mountain coward and he said he’d read some of my posts. I commented on the 2 guys who’d gone off down the back to do Ben Lui and said I felt guilty that I hadn’t done the same – he said they were the 2 guys who had the charity minibus in the carpark – the 66 year old who’s doing the Munros in a few months.
Ben Lui showing South Ridge to col.jpg

I pointed out the various routes up the front of Ben Lui to an enthusiastic Richard – he is now keen to get at it! I however, became less keen to tackle it from Cononish and am probably just going to do it from the back with Beinn a’ Chleibh. Soon we said our goodbyes to our new friend and set off back down the snowy ridge, looking back we saw he was also coming back down. At the col between Oss and the subsidiary peak, we swapped routes – he went back over the peak and we traversed round it finding superb snowy routes down. At one point I looked at Richard to see how he was coping with his ‘hated snow’ and found he was actually grinning and having a great time too! I tried a bumslide at one point but just got a wet bum!
Ben Oss-coming back down.jpg
Ben Oss - looking back up from shoulder.jpg
Ben Oss shoulder snowfield to Dubhchraig.jpg
The Pristine Stuff & water hole.jpg
Ben Oss-Footsteps.jpg
South fm Dubhchraig-Oss col.jpg
Caisteal and Beinn Chabhair...
Ben Oss East Face.jpg

We soon re-ascended back to the lochan, me eating an icicle on the way up as I decided I had a moment’s thirst and then we sat again in the sun, not wanting to leave the gorgeous weather and the superb snowscenes!
Loch Oss.jpg
Beinn Dubhchraig-reascent&Arrochar Alps.jpg
All good things have to come to an end however and we were starting to want our tea so we headed off back down the grassy ridge to the valley.

At the carpark I put some money in Challenge Guy’s charity box hanging on his wing mirror – hope it was still there when he got back! A superb end to our week’s Munroing and one of my best snowy days in the mountains ever!
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
mountain coward

Re: April Munroing - A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 04, 2010 4:11 am

Couldn't fit a few photos on... here are the ones I took of Loch Oss looking sparkly in the sunshine and a long way down from the re-ascended shoulder of Beinn Dubhchraig:
Loch Oss diving board!.jpg
Loch Oss fm Beinn Dubhchraig.jpg
Loch Oss fm Beinn Dubhchraig cornice.jpg
mountain coward

Re: April Munroing - A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Postby magicdin » Tue May 04, 2010 12:54 pm

yes a good move to climb back over the shoulder of beinn dubhchraig
once descended directly into coire buidhe in icy conditions
was a bit dodgy :shock: not my finest hour on the hills

great report on two of my local (sort of) hills
good to finish a trip with a really fine day - makes it easier to come back for more :)
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Re: April Munroing - A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Postby monty » Tue May 04, 2010 2:27 pm

Another good report M.C.

Excellent pictures. I think the first two would make excellent oil paintings, almost panoramic. :D

I hope to do the four munros on this ridge all together later this year if all goes well. :D :D

Re: Apr Munroing Pt.3-A Superb Day on Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

Postby mountain coward » Wed May 05, 2010 1:28 am

magicdin - you're so right that it's great to finish on a good day - it really does make you want to come back... there's so many trips where I've not had a great time and sometimes come back wondering why I'm Munroing and what it's all about... then there's days like that when you realise that's what it's all about! :D I was also really pleased Richard had a good time with the snow as it may make him more receptive to further snowy Munroing or other hillwalking :D

Monty - thanks for the picture compliments - you're welcome to paint them in oils for me if you want! :D I always found oils really hard to paint with - much prefer doing watercolours myself...
mountain coward

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