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Cruachan plus Tops

Cruachan plus Tops

Postby weaselmaster » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:50 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 21/02/2015

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 16.4 km

Ascent: 1668m

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Another Saturday on my own, so another Saturday with no Corbetts getting done. Munro Tops it is then. I had unfinished business on both Ben Cruachan and Ben Starav and chose the former as I was unable to get away early on account of being on-call overnight and not able to leave before 8,30am. I did wonder if Cruachan might be a bit of an ask with a late start and fresh snow, but hey-ho. Nice drive up with a gamut of weather from brilliant blue skies to blizzards. Everyone and his granny seemed to be doing things to the A82 - 4 separate light controlled stoppages on the road. Just as well I wasn't in a hurry :lol:

Arrived at the parking area by the station - another couple of cars there - good- someone to break trail :clap: Up through the steep and slippy woodland path - some of the trees could do with a prune back. Up to the dam where I meet 2 guys just up for a walk to the dam- bugger, no trail broken for me then. Brisk walk along the roadside alone the reservoir then turn up into Coire Dearg. Snow varies from a couple of inches to 3 feet or more. It's looking very loaded up near Bealach an Lochain. Hmm. I wonder about crossing over and heading up the flanks of Meall Cunaill, which I want to climb anyway. Playing about with my GPS i manage to turn the screen light so low that I can't see anything at all on it, hence can't find the setting to put the lighting back up. Numpty. Dig map and compass out and decide to head left up the increasingly steep crags of Cunaill when 2 fit folk with a lovely black German Shepherd appear out of nowhere, have a brief discussion, they're heading up to Drochaid Ghlas rather than risk the bealach. Probably wise.

Loch Awe
ImageP1050977 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050978 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050980 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050981 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050982 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Up toward Bealach an Lochain
ImageP1050983 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The next section is steep and tiring. About half way up I pause on a rock to put crampons on - the snow has a firm icy base underneath and kicking steps isn't giving enough security. The weather deteriorates, visibility is shocking and I'm not enjoying this very much. However, I get to a flat area after the steep stuff and find the fencepost line, which lets me know where I am and avoids walking off corniced edges. I stop for lunch and manage to fix my GPS. Up to Cunaill in a blizzard then down steeply, still following fenceposts to the bealach. Some clearing of the sky as I slowly make my way up to Cruachan - man this is steep in snow up to your knees. Finally I get to the summit, thankful that we'd done the NW top of Stob Dearg the last time we were here. The ridge edge is looking vague and corniced in the clag, so I keep well to the right of it. When it comes to the slabby rocks further on I try and go just under the crest, not wanting to fall into the abyss, but it isn't much fun with slippy rocks glazed with ice so I retreat and bypass further down. The weather is varying between icy blizzard and warm sunshine and I can't decide how many layers I need on to keep warm but not boil. Make it along to Drochaid Ghlas, enjoying myself now - weather a bit brighter. Think I should be able to get down before dark too.

To Meall Cuanail
ImageP1050984 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Meall Cuanail
ImageP1050985 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050986 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Towards Cruachan
ImageP1050987 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050989 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050990 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050991 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Meall a'Bhuridh
ImageP1050992 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050997 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1050998 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Onwards to Stob Damh - some nice glimpses of Glen/Loch Etive on the way. At the summit I descend sharply NE and head over to Sron an Isean, the final top I need on this hill. I note footprints, presumably someone that's come up from Glen Noe - helpful in avoiding the worst drifts and cornice. Summit cairn - if there is one - is buried under snow. I turn and retrace my steps to Stob Damh - only taken about 15 mins. Onward to Stob Garbh then down towards the Laraig Torran - I stop to remove crampons and switch axe for sticks and my hands get really frozen - lot of wind chill. I attempt to capture some pictures of the sun going down over the reservoir and the hills out to Oban, but my camera tells me the battery is dead :( Onwards along the north side of the gully down towards the reservoir, past the dam and onto the tarmac road, past Trekpete's digger and back onto the woodlands path. Most of the snow here has melted on my return. Completed just before 6pm, so no need for the headtorch - I am loving these longer-light days.

ImageP1050999 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060003 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stob Damh
ImageP1060004 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060005 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To Glen Etive
ImageP1060007 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060008 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Stob Damh
ImageP1060009 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Sron an Isean
ImageP1060010 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Glen Noe
ImageP1060011 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060012 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stob Damh
ImageP1060013 by 23weasels, on Flickr

ImageP1060014 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To summit Sron an Isean
ImageP1060016 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Stob Damh from Sron an Isean
ImageP1060019 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Re: Cruachan plus Tops

Postby Spade » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:01 pm

Great report, good to see you getting those tops in Superb photos! :clap:
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Re: Cruachan plus Tops

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:09 pm

Brave fella but at least some decent spells and good photos :D

Stayed low myself yesterday weather was very unpredictable !
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Re: Cruachan plus Tops

Postby litljortindan » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:13 pm

Sounds like quite an experience.
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