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2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

2/3 of the Brothers Ridge


Postby Beaner001 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:39 pm

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Meadhoin, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg

Date walked: 24/01/2015

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1167m

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My friends Stuart and Andrew were up for a winter trip so Glenshiel was chosen. We booked the Kintail Hotel Trekkers Lodge 2 weeks in advance, even the not so favourable weather reports could not deter us as we were kind of hemmed in over in that little area in terms of hill choices. East was best this weekend and we happened to be west. Ah well, you win some you lose some and I had been very fortunate with weather in my November trips. Due to snow conditions and the fact we were staying over in Kintail I decided it was best to leave the dogs out of this trip. I missed them but I needed to have my full concentration on myself and walking buddies.
Initially we were going to go as a foursome and tackle the Forcan Ridge onto The Saddle but Craig had to drop out last minute, also we were not keen on the extra weight a rope and harnesses would add to an already long day. The funny thing is you actually need to be fitter to do winter walks/climbs as the snow takes extra effort but I exercise less in the winter so my fitness levels are not as good, need to remedy this for future winter assaults. I was keen on a go at Beinn Sgritheall as I felt it would be a long day in the snow but Stuart wanted to try the Brothers ridge and we had two cars so a linear walk made sense.
We arrived at the Kintail Lodge at 10pm and headed to the bar for a nightcap. We stayed in the Trekkers Lodge (£16.00 each) which we enjoyed; it holds 6 people and can be booked out for £90 a night if I remember correctly. Thoroughly recommend this if a few of you are going over. We booked Breakfast in the hotel in the morning which was lovely. Arrived at the Cluannie Inn at 9.20am which was shut due to storm damage, therefor nobody there to inform of our proposed return time as per the signs in the car park opposite it. In retrospect we would have been better tackling this route the opposite way due to the wind direction but we wanted to break ourselves into the climb easily so this route was chosen.

photo 1.JPG
Getting gear ready in the Trekkers Lodge (Kintail Hotel)



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The start was littered with Deer which were grazing close to the roadside all along Glenshiel.

photo 2.JPG
Car Park opposite Cluanie Inn

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Starting off in fairly deep snow

photo 14.JPG
Stuart sneaking a rest


The higher slopes had so much snow on them that the deer stayed low.

photo 4.JPG
Getting deeper and slower


We took turns to break trail as the route was over virgin snow and tough going. Eventually we reached about 600m where we had to resort to the Crampons and Axes as the top layer of snow had frozen.

photo 5.JPG
Looking back over to the South Glenshiel Ridge

photo 6.JPG
Stuart having a quick rest stop

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Stuart

photo 8.JPG
South Glenshiel Ridge

photo 9.JPG
Andrew toiling

photo 10.JPG
Sun making an appearance over the first Munro of the South Glenshiel Ridge


On reaching the top of Sgurr an Fhuarail we were rewarded with great views over to the Corbett Am Bathach and Munro Ciste Dhubh which both looked splendid and I cannot wait for a return to tackle these two, perhaps in winter as their long ridged outlines looked like they’d give great walking.

photo 17.JPG
The Corbett Am Bathach


We rested here as we waited on a snowstorm to pass, the stinging on the faces was relentless all day and I really do need to invest in goggles.

photo 15.JPG
Me on top of Sgurr an Fhuarail

photo 16.JPG
Looking to Aonach Meadhoin from Sgurr an Fhuarail


The route off Sgurr an Fhuarail looked daunting as there were cornices everywhere and the ridge down looked as if it would just drop into oblivion, as usual this was not the case but it was as close as we’ll ever feel to being true Himalayan Mountaineers.

photo 11.JPG
Stuart and Andrew Coming off slopes of Sgurr an Fhuarail

photo 12.JPG
Stuart and Andrew Coming off slopes of Sgurr an Fhuarail, Ciste Dudh in background top left


Once we reached the wee bealach we begun the climb up to Aonach Meadhoin, this was made tricky by the constant snow storms and wind, you have to trust the equipment and training you’ve had here, the crampons really do dig in to provide excellent grip. We eventually reached the summit cairn; the summit was quite a flat area.

photo 13.JPG
Low visibility heading coming off Aonach Meadhoin (cameras stopped working due to cold so no more pics)


We sat out another storm beside the cairn then made our move off to the ridge over to Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dhearg, this was the summit I was looking forward to the most as it is almost out on a peninsula on the ridge, well it looked that way in our conditions. We scrambled along to the huge summit cairn which looked like it was hanging in the abyss. Due to the cold all our camera equipment had failed so no photo’s here, I was gutted as the photos would have looked quite extreme. We knew that time was now not on our side and we had to rush over the next few peaks and troughs to get to the start of the Saileag ascent proper. We had to stop and sit out another few snow storms and eat some food as energy levels we getting low. After this it dawned on us we’d be descending in the dark, this did not deter us as the snow was helping illuminate the route, and we had good head torches and were not far from the safety of the road. However the constant snow blasts had taken their toll on us and we decided it be best to miss Saileag as we really did not want to make any mistakes due to tiredness and we opted to descend down the South Eastern slopes of Saileag. This took a couple of hours as the snow was so deep, we did get to bum slide down the steeper sections using our axes for arresting. Looking at the map we figured we’d head for the Military road which ran adjacent to the road and would take us to within 1.5Km of the car. We made it to the big deer fence above the forestry and scaled this, but we soon realised we’d not be making fast time in the forestry as there were tree roots, fallen trees and general debris from the cutting all over the place. We tried to follow the stream but it took us a further hour to reach the Military Road. The conditions underfoot in terms of snow and debris and the lack of light in the forest all hampered our route here. We eventually made the road delighted to meet solid ground, all be it in half a foot of snow!!

photo 18.JPG
Back at Military Road in Darkness


We followed the Military road for around a Km and reached the end where we dropped down towards the main road and it was bliss to walk on the concrete. No need to hitchhike as we knew it was only another Km to reach the car. I actually did not feel too bad at the end of the walk, deep down I had wished we’d maybe gone for the Summit of Saileag as the route we escaped off the hill was possibly harder and longer than the planned route but we have to make decisions as a team on the mountain and if even one member is not comfortable then this can lead to problems for all so we were well pleased how the weekend panned out. Another great experience in an area of the Scottish Mountains that was new for me, I will be back to Glenshiel soon, hopefully before the snow goes. Cheers
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Beaner001
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 743
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Re: 2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

Postby martin.h » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:51 pm

Another good 'un Matthew, fantastic mountains looking more spectacular with a good blathering of snow. :D
I hope you get more oppertunities to get out there over winter, not that I'm jealous or anything like that :mrgreen: :lol:
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martin.h
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Re: 2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:33 pm

Nice one in challenging conditions :clap:
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Collaciotach
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Re: 2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:03 pm

Oof, that sounded tough, 10km in 10 hours says it all. I’m still envious though! :mrgreen:
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Re: 2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

Postby onsen » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:16 pm

Epic adventure, one for the ol' memory banks.... :thumbup:
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onsen
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Re: 2/3 of the Brothers Ridge

Postby Beaner001 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:11 pm

martin.h wrote:Another good 'un Matthew, fantastic mountains looking more spectacular with a good blathering of snow. :D
I hope you get more oppertunities to get out there over winter, not that I'm jealous or anything like that :mrgreen: :lol:


Haha, I am the same Martin, im never jealous at all when I see others reports too :lol:

Collaciotach wrote:Nice one in challenging conditions :clap:


Challenging right enough, at the end my GPS read 3 hours 36 mins moving and 6 hours 5 mins stopped :shock: :shock:

Silverhill wrote:Oof, that sounded tough, 10km in 10 hours says it all. I’m still envious though! :mrgreen:


As above Silverhill, the snow storms really halted proceedings :(

onsen wrote:Epic adventure, one for the ol' memory banks.... :thumbup:


Thanks Onsen, defo a great day regardless. Want to get back before the snow goes 8)
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Beaner001
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Posts: 743
Munros:234   Corbetts:26
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Joined: Sep 17, 2013
Location: Aberdeenshire

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