Buachille Etive Beag, sun, snow and far from solo
by GillC » Sat Mar 14, 2015 7:16 pm
Route description: Buachaille Etive Beag
Munros included on this walk: Stob Coire Raineach (Buachaille Etive Beag), Stob Dubh (Buachaille Etive Beag)
Date walked: 14/03/2015
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 900m11 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
This winter has been horrendous for trying to match up good days,,with days off work etc so with an alignment of sunshine on a Saturday and pinching Johns car for the trip, I initially contemplated the 2 North of Ben More but then chose for various reason, to pick up the wee Bookil. Distance, length of trip, proximity to other human beings and time spent in sore winter boots,, to name a few.
Dropping John off at work at 5:15 am, great time to head on up to Glencoe and was parked up around 7:20am, with a bit of faffing, I was off on the path by 7:45am, looking forward to the sun sun sun that was forecast but hadn't shown face yet
Heading up the well constructed path, I was checking out the GPS, using mainly to get used to the controls as I didn't anticipate any problems route finding today. So, when I got the the junction in the path, a quick check and confirmed, yes, I was where I thought I was!
Nice easy path to follow and spotted some deer a short way ahead, they weren't really phased by my presence and I got quite close before the sauntered off to the left to join their pals, grazing nearby.
Snow! wasn't sure what to expect up here, the lower stretches of most of the surrounding hills were clear and due to the morning mist, I couldn't see what was above me, although the other peaks around still seemed to have a lot on top. I checked the GPS for my height when I got to the first small patches of snow, around 525 mtrs, with one chunk making for a mucky crossing of a wee burn.
By the time I was around 580 - 600mtrs I was on full snow cover with the path disappearing beneath. Plenty of footprints to show the ascent taken by the majority with some maverick tracks off to the right and left, rebels indeed I had also spotted 2 people on the path a way back,,so at least I knew I wasn't on my own up here any more.
There was still no sign of the sun but as promised, the winds were low to non existent, but on approaching the bealach, a breeze picked up, nothing major,,in fact in felt like that wind you get in the underground when a train's coming lol and by the time I reached the bealach, it had settled again. Opting for Stob Coire Raineach first, I stopped for a moment or two, get some pics, then headed off left up to the rocks.
The south face of the hill was pretty much clear of snow but with pockets lying in and around the rocks, it made for some careful picking up. Nothing tricky though and another check of the GPS for height showed me about 75mtrs below the summit.
Felt really good to be up here on a fine morning, with no real effort to get here, as I landed on the summit at 8:55am.
No views but got a few pics then stood for a moment or two watching the second summit appear, disappear and reappear in the clouds. It looked a lot further away than I was expecting and was in full snow cover GULP!
As I descended, I could see someone below, just approaching the bealach, but they were standing still, possibly waiting for someone. The two I'd seen on the path earlier were on their way up to the summit when we met. A quick chat and off I went again. A little further down, was met by a smiling face, "you're a sight for sore eyes Gill" he said....it was Singh,,friend of Davy Sothern whom I'd met on a MCof S/Walk Highlands navigation course last year. Chatted for a bit, as another girl passed by, then let him head off for the first summit as I carried on down.
Met another two guys at the bottom before I headed over the bealach and on to the real snow.
It looks a pretty relentless steepish climb from here with some cornicing under the first top, so I stayed in line with the older footsteps, over the rocks to the right. I didn't bother with crampons here as it wasn't icy at all, some bits would have benefited from them but I pushed on. (Had already decided by this time to put them on for the descent, no point picking your way down this if you have some extra grip)
At 10am, I reached the wee cairn at the top of this slope, closely followed by the first two folks from Raineach. I hung around taking pics as they pushed on, like me, cramponless!
The ridge from here looked stunning, pure white snow, sun out now and clouds breaking up.
The summit looks really far away but heading off into perfect walking conditions, easy underfoot, no wind, amazing views and I felt really good, think this was a good choice for my first Munro/s of the year.
I'd seen several others heading up the hill and it was now looking quite busy behind me. Lots of photo stops and just taking it all in.
Passing along the ridge with cornicing and clean snow slopes on both sides, was easy, a few feet either side was probably only snow but there was nothing tricky as I made my way up over the middle top and then on up to the summit.
I used the GPS to check my height and position and lo and behold,,I was about 25 mtrs under the summit, for what seemed so far away , back at the first cairn, I had reached the second summit by 11:50am.
Dropped my bag, took some pics then nipped off to the southern top for some amazing views down Glen Etive and another wee chat with the guys.
Back to the summit cairn, jacket on and lunch out. Sat there for 50 mins, chatting to people, dogs, eating lunch, taking pics/selfies lol.
Singh arrived around half past 12 and I packed up, crampons on and headed off with him. It was such a glorious afternoon by now and it was nice to be able to stop and chat as we passed people. Met some fellow Walk Highlanders, Kenny , then Eddie and also saw a party of helmeted people practicing ice axe arrests on the lower slopes above the bealach.
The descent was much easier with crampons on, the snow was still deep in some places and never really icy but it did help a lot to have that extra grip.
We opted to follow a set of the maverick footprints, cutting down to the left before the bealach, figured it was safe enough but was too soft for bumslides Back to the last patch of snow, across to the path and took a minute to pack away the crampons.
The rest of the descent on the National Trust path, with its big stone steps, never sure if they are a godsend or a curse. My wee burny feet were starting to hurt by now but I knew this wasn't a long descent so just plodded down.
Sun was now out all around and the AE ridge looking stunning.
I had met some guys on top who had been over it (AE) yesterday, said there was hardly any snow on the ridge itself but I could see a lot in the gullies.
I hadn't bothered with my hydration pack today and to be honest, was too lazy to stop here to get my bottle of juice out, so eternally grateful to Singh for giving me a bottle of lucozade that happened to be sticking out of his rucksack pocket lol (MUCH appreciated) Feet were VERY "ouchy" by the time we came in sight of the carpark and I was roasting, just dying to get into my trainers. Managed to lose a glove around here,,black thinsulate,,anyone find it???
We got back to the cars by 1:25pm, very happy with that,,5hrs 45 and considering I'd spent 50 mins sitting at the top, chuffed!
Carpark, trainers on, bliss.
For what started out as a solo walk, I met and chatted with loads of people, a really feel good day and set me up for more to come, planning on a possible double next weekend now to hit my halfway mark,,,bring it on
by SAVAGEALICE » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:17 pm
by GillC » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:33 pm
SAVAGEALICE wrote:Well done Gill You're ahead of me ...still not managed any Munros this year yet! Did bag a wee Corbett yesterday ...the first big hill since Christmas ...legs sore today!! Will have to work on getting my hill fitness back! Sounds like you're not struggling at all! With you on the sore feet and boots Can't wait to get back into my trainers on the hills So glad you started up your reports again! Some great photos there. Many years ago I worked on the National trust path your talking about. That was some hike to work! It was before the lower path was built and was just a big bog at the bottom
Oh Im SO ahead of you Miss S....ive done TWO corbetts this year lol. Thighs feeling a wee bit today,,its those pesky boulder steps down though lol ,,
by litljortindan » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:12 pm
by GillC » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:13 am
by Mountainlove » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:52 am
by GillC » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:17 am
by AnnieMacD » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:23 pm
by parminder » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:07 pm
Great Photos, especially with MWAH in them. LOL..
Thanks for a Memorable Day.
Keep writing them reports.
by Fife Flyer » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:44 pm
Will maybe pop back to the wee Bookil as that is the only hill/s on that side where I didn't get a view The path up to the bealach is just like going up the stairs at home, albeit a few more
I won't rub it in and tell you how many hills I've conquered this year
by GillC » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:35 pm