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A long but rewarding day on the Easains

A long but rewarding day on the Easains


Postby Jaxter » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:19 pm

Route description: Stob Coire Easain and Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin

Munros included on this walk: Stob a'Choire Mheadhoin, Stob Coire Easain

Date walked: 09/01/2016

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 1172m

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A free weekend had appeared :D :D and after a week of studying weather reports we decided to head for Tulloch, with the Easains in our sights.

My rehearsal on Friday night had gone insanely late so I’d only had 3 hours sleep when the alarm went off on Saturday morning :wtf: But the sleepy realisation that it was mountain day and not work had me awake and excited :thumbup: :-D Threw on clothes, made cup of tea and dragged bags and bags of stuff down to the car (always better to have too much, right? :roll: )

As it got light we were getting fantastic views everywhere and it was shaping up to be a perfect day. Meeting Scoob and Fi in the layby just past Fersit at 9 (well, just after 9. We were late… :roll: ), we booted up and set off down the track. It was very cold, there was ice on the loch and there was frost everywhere. The whole valley was sparkling :D

The track branched and we took the right fork up the hill before heading off up the open hillside.

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It was very crunchy but would have been a total bogfest if not for the freezing temperatures. Scoob’s impressive array of gadgets informed us that wind chill was -8.4 :shock: Chilly!

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Happy campers
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Ahead of us was Meall Cian Dearg, an imposing looking crag that we were supposed to be able to get up…
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Conditions underfoot were becoming increasingly icy – all the water from the recent deluge had frozen and was very slippery, meaning a fair few ‘Woah’ moments and crazy pirouettes, mainly from me.

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We climbed up to the base of the crags, eying up a wee gully. Scoob and Fi headed into this; I waited to see what would happen....

Scoob thinking about the gully...
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On hearing ‘I’m not sure this is a good idea’ :shock: I decided to try further left. We scrambled and slipped our way across the steep slopes to what looked like a path. Unfortunately it turned out to be a very frozen path and I lost my footing and crashed into a rock, creating what will be a very impressive bruise in a few days time. :lol:

Continuing left, we tried again. My plan of attack was heading for a small diagonal looking ledge and after a fair amount of scrambling, sliding and swearing I clambered over the top, crossed a load of icy snow and met the others who had ice-axed their way up the gully!! :clap: Changed my wet gloves for dry ones and we headed off up the ridge.

Back down
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Contemplating....things
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Ahead
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Fi wondering what sort of crazy person this was... :lol:
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The snow was deep and the wind was much stronger now, making it quite hard work. We reached a piece of sheet ice which someone had fortunately cut some steps in, so we all nervously tottered our way across :shock: The visibility was disappearing and before long we were trudging up a snowy slope in the clag; it was blowing snow in our faces and it was really cold! We were overtaken by a man who said that there had been an easier way up Meall Cian Dearg on the right. D’oh! :lol: He also turned out to be a WH lurker, so Hi Mr Mysterious! :wave: :wave:

Conditions underfoot started getting icier, there were some really impressive ice formations but no photos as it was too cold to stop! The ridge went on, and on, and on. It probably felt longer than it was because we were so cold – the wind chill gadget was reading at -15.4! :shock: Eventually we reached the summit of Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin where there was a small shelter but no view to admire. Summit shots were quickly taken and we were off. It wasn't until later that I realised that this was my 40th, a pretty pathetic number considering present company, but a milestone none the less! :D

Me looking cold
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Fi's group shot
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The descent to the bealach was steep and icy but there was enough deep snow to avoid having to stop to put on crampons. We had a look down from the bealach as we knew this was a possible return route, but it looked very steep and snowy and we couldn’t really see anything. Putting off that decision for later, we pressed on.

Stob Coire Easain was extremely steep. We were all pretty tired by this point so we took our time. At the top, the view was unimpressive (non-existant) so again took summit pictures and got moving.

Perfect summit views.....
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Woohoo!
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Selfie time taken with Fi's amazing selfie feature :D
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When we reached the bealach we decided the steep snowy descent was probably not a good idea as it could be really icy, so reluctantly headed back up to the top of summit number 1 and back down the ridge. It was quicker going once we were heading downhill but it was still very cold.

One more of Fi's, trudging downhill in the snow
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We realised it was nearly 3 o clock and we hadn’t stopped for food, so found a relatively sheltered spot before I could start getting cranky :lol: and munched sandwiches as quickly as possible (although not quickly enough to avoid more numb fingers)

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We finally came out of the clag and could see what we thought might be an alternative to climbing back down the icy scrambles. Thank goodness!

Out of the clag!
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We headed down steep snowy slopes which were totally fine, but then realised we would have to traverse around the head of the Meall Cian Dearg in order to bypass the crags falling into the loch.

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Looking back from our alternative descent
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We were back into icy river territory, so there was some sliding around, but some had melted so a small amount of bog trotting also. We eventually picked up what we thought was a quadbike track, slipped down a steep slope, crossed a (fortunately for me, very small) burn and we were back on the track. It was nearly 5 o clock, it was almost dark and we were all knackered so we initiated a very quick march along the track back to the car. Although there is something quite nice about finishing in the dark :D

Back to the hostel for copious cups of tea, showers, dinner (pasta has never tasted so good), planning for the next day and plenty of banter.

It was a lot of hard work and the conditions were far from ideal, but it was a lot of fun. It was great to meet some more WH celebrities, so thanks to Scoob and Fi for putting up with me. Here's to the next time! :D

Scoob's epic video of the day can be enjoyed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwOfoGJLBg4 (Hope you don't mind me posting it - it's so good everyone should see it :D )
Last edited by Jaxter on Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:30 pm

Nice one Jaxter :clap: :clap:

I did this last Feb in deep snow and hard ice , Meall Cian is hard to ascend and descend in Winter conditions .I ended up slowly post holing down a very steep slope ón the West into the Buachaille Bréige just off the nose :shock:
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:32 pm

Hope you got no bruises from collision with the rock! Looks a good day out though. :D
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:16 pm

Stupendous report Jackie! Big thanks to you, Fi and Stu for a memorable day. What I had thought would be a canter turned out to be a long day in testing conditions. Your chocolate brownies were divine! :crazy: :clap:
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby whitespider » Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:01 pm

Hi Jakster,

The man you met was me, I did wonder if you guys had gone down the bealach way, I had another look at it on the way back but thought better off it. It was pretty much dark when I got back to the car as well. A good day out and a good test of winter gear!!

Thanks for the report. Cheers Tommy
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby scoob999 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:49 pm

Good report of the walk Jackie :clap:

my second coldest walk so far, the coldest being -22 :shock:

Pity about the lack of visibility :( was a good forecast ass well. Nice meeting you and we'll prob see you again at some stage :D
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:05 pm

Nice one! That looked and sounded very cold, great effort and congratulations on your 40th munro! :clap:
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby pjm1 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:55 am

A belter of a trip - well done! I did this pair a couple of years ago in May and the snow was ridiculously deep (still). I'll be honest and say on our trip we had some very hairy moments (bordering on unsafe) so I'm glad to see you all got back ok despite the cold weather :)
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Jaxter » Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:28 am

Collaciotach wrote:Nice one Jaxter :clap: :clap:

I did this last Feb in deep snow and hard ice , Meall Cian is hard to ascend and descend in Winter conditions .I ended up slowly post holing down a very steep slope ón the West into the Buachaille Bréige just off the nose :shock:


:shock: :clap:


dogplodder wrote:Hope you got no bruises from collision with the rock! Looks a good day out though. :D


Had an impressive shiner! Battle wounds :D folk at work on Monday morning thought I was nuts :lol:


Borderhugh wrote:Stupendous report Jackie! Big thanks to you, Fi and Stu for a memorable day. What I had thought would be a canter turned out to be a long day in testing conditions. Your chocolate brownies were divine! :crazy: :clap:


Was a bit more exciting than we expected wasn't it :lol: brownies will be even better next time :D


whitespider wrote:Hi Jakster,

The man you met was me, I did wonder if you guys had gone down the bealach way, I had another look at it on the way back but thought better off it. It was pretty much dark when I got back to the car as well. A good day out and a good test of winter gear!!

Thanks for the report. Cheers Tommy


Waney! Glad you got back ok, and great to meet you :D


scoob999 wrote:Good report of the walk Jackie :clap:

my second coldest walk so far, the coldest being -22 :shock:

Pity about the lack of visibility :( was a good forecast ass well. Nice meeting you and we'll prob see you again at some stage :D


Oooft chilly :shock: but was great fun anyway :D


Silverhill wrote:Nice one! That looked and sounded very cold, great effort and congratulations on your 40th munro! :clap:


Thanks :D


pjm1 wrote:A belter of a trip - well done! I did this pair a couple of years ago in May and the snow was ridiculously deep (still). I'll be honest and say on our trip we had some very hairy moments (bordering on unsafe) so I'm glad to see you all got back ok despite the cold weather :)


Wow don't expect that so much in May! :shock: glad you got back ok too!
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby pjm1 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:45 am

Jaxter wrote:
pjm1 wrote:A belter of a trip - well done! I did this pair a couple of years ago in May and the snow was ridiculously deep (still). I'll be honest and say on our trip we had some very hairy moments (bordering on unsafe) so I'm glad to see you all got back ok despite the cold weather :)


Wow don't expect that so much in May! :shock: glad you got back ok too!


Neither did we :crazy: We walked past a very fresh avalanche fall and ended up traversing beneath a very nervewracking cornice. Not good/clever/anything we wanted to do, but in all cases the least worst option :shock: Was almost in shock by the end of it as we had a couple of moments where we genuinely though "this might turn out badly"...
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Mrs Scoob » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:33 pm

Great report Jackie :clap: Good to meet you, and well done on your 40th! :thumbup: See you at the WH meet if not before :D
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Tomsie » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:54 am

Sounded like a cold one, unlucky with the views but always an excuse to go back. :)
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:06 pm

Good effort and great day out :clap: :D
Pity the "perfect" summit views...I had the same views from the summit in November 2014, but the fresh air and the views on the way are worthy too :wink:
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Re: A long but rewarding day on the Easains

Postby IndoorMunroist » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:55 pm

I am loving these reports and this one has me rushing to view the video.
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