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a scramble-amble up Creise NE ridge + down to the ski centre

a scramble-amble up Creise NE ridge + down to the ski centre

Postby Delice » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:48 pm

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a' Bhùiridh

Date walked: 21/09/2014

Time taken: 4.5 hours

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Driving over Rannoch Moor for years to visit the Outlaws in Ballachulish I've been eyeing up the NE ridge of Creise - loving its rocky profile, picking out the possible routes from the passing car window, and plucking up courage to give it a go. I love a bit of scrambling, but find it hard to guage from books whether I'm up to it or not. The guide books suggest in winter it's a no-no except for the experienced winter climbers. Anyway it was hardly autumn and I was feeling bold, so I called in my trusty walking companion Mr T for a rendezvous at Glencoe ski centre where we left one car and drove to a suitable spot on the Glen Etive road to make an assault on the NE ridge. Cloud sitting on the top of Creise but the ridge climb was clear, and hopes that the clouds might rise up as we did!
Low waters after the dry summer made crossing the Etive easy peasy. Now for the slog over the boglands to the foot of the ridge. But, again, joy of joys - this was also easy after the dry summer! Looking closer up at the approaching ridge it didn't look so bad. It was clear you could pick your way on a faint path up the loose stony gully most of the way to the top, but Mr T had other ideas. Path? Pah-we're here to scramble! So we diverted closer to the ridgeline and headed up fairly easy rocky outrops on the lower slopes. It was fun [don't let that grimace in the piccie fool you - I was loving it! :wink: ].
Creise 01a.jpg
Then we came to a the nearly vertical buttress - probably has a name but I don't know it and I chickened out and made my way round the side into the gully. Discretion is the best part of valour as they say. Mr T was having none of that, but minutes later I saw him sheepishly following in my footsteps!
Creise 02a.jpg
We made our way up steadily dipping to either side of the gully over the gentler rocky/ grassy outcrops which made for easy and pleasant scrambling til we reached the rocky castle top of Stob a Glais Choire. That had been well worth the anticipation! A great way up a mountainside and we'd had clear views all the way - impressive looking back down to Glen Etive and across to the Buachaille. But the faint drone of traffic heading over the Moor reminds you that civilisation isn't that far away.
Unfortunately the cloud had not obliged us and just beyond the Stob is where we entered its murkier world. From what we could tell there's a nice broad ridge walk onto the top of Creise, with interesting crags to the left, but we weren't able to enjoy much of that view.
Creise 05a.jpg
Creise 06a.jpg
Didn't take us long to get onto the summit on the flattish stony plateau....or so we thought. Had a rest and a bite to eat, before setting off again, congratulating ourselves that we were making good time. Oh, what's this, we're heading uphill not down....hmmn, we were getting careless - one of us [I won't say who] hadn't put their glasses on and had misread the height on the map, so we thought the summit was 100m lower than it really was! That doesn't make your expensive altimeter very useful, does it Mr T? :roll: Now, on this particular walk it wasn't an issue, but note to self and anyone else who wears glasses - put them on and read the map properly, cos otherwise you could end up in trouble! Anyway, we did a quick recalculation, and having timed ourselves from the summit of Creise to the critical cairn at Mam Coire Easain [where the route heads off to the next munro] we found it no bother. On a good day they say its worth walking a bit further to admire the view from Clach Leathad but today?......No!
A nice steep rocky route down onto an airy ridge linking Creise to Meall a Bhuiridh.
Creise 08a.jpg
And happily for us the clouds began to part and we could see the way to the distant summit of our second munro.
Creise 09a.jpg

Clouds are funny things - they seem to like hanging around on particular spots - often just to thwart you getting a nice photo of what you know is a cracking view or a Very Important Munro on your personal list - like your first [definitely want a record of that] or your 100th [big fanfare]! We made it to the summit, up a lovely curving rocky ridge with good views to either side - Clach Leathad now [annoyingly] standing out clearly across from our lunchtime perch, where it became warm and sunny as we sat. But still the cloud refused to budge off Creise - it was as though the mountain had disappeared without trace! And I'm developing these nagging feelings - in these circumstances - when I don't get a good view from a munro - that I'll need to do that one again!
Creise 10a.jpg

It felt remote and peaceful at the summit of Meall a Bhuiridh, and after such a nice approach, it was disappointing to discover that the rubble and metal junk of the top of the ski resort lay only just over the brow. Presumably this is the last bit of the Centre's infrastructure to get fixed after the extreme conditions at Glencoe last winter. Certainly, the guys were busy fixing buildings and ski lifts a bit lower down. It was interesting enough to head down the easy grassy slopes that run through it, but it doesn't make for the most scenic of routes without the snow to enliven it. Also interesting to see the hair-raising mountain bike trails - looked suitable only for mad people to use - but we didn't witness any in action sadly. Quite a few more sedate/ sane people were up and down the lower chairlift. We had a wager over what it might cost to go up and down. I was bang on, which means Mr T owes me a coffee, because surprise surprise, when we get to the cafe it's 'Oh dear, I've left my money in the car'. Ah, well next time, Mr T, and it might be more than a coffee - because it looks like I'm going to be coming back this way again for my missing photo of Creise!
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Re: a scramble-amble up Creise NE ridge + down to the ski ce

Postby BoyVertiginous » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:12 pm

Thanks for that, Delice. Pity you didn't get it clear the whole way.
Was admiring that ridge from Curved ridge today, defo on the radar now. You weren't on the bookil today were you, saw someone resembling you in the car park around 3'ish?
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Re: a scramble-amble up Creise NE ridge + down to the ski ce

Postby Silverhill » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:25 pm

Well done for going up that way, and great that you enjoyed it too! :D
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