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Blue skies & Snow in Torridon
by Fife Flyer » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:47 pm
Route description: Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a'Chaorachain
Munros included on this walk: Sgurr a'Chaorachain, Sgurr Choinnich
Date walked: 27/02/2016
Time taken: 8.5 hours
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 1230m9 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).
As the weather forecast was promising a decent weekend, I decided midweek that I was heading out on Saturday and Munro's would be on the menu Sounds easy if I say it quick enough, so I studied the remote new hills that are left on my hit list and really fancied heading back to Torridon. I contacted both Tommy and Karen and they were interested but wary of such a long day. I softened the blow with Karen by offering to drive from Perth, so she was in
Tommy was concerned about the avalanche warnings, however as the week progressed and the weather conditions stabilised, the avalanche warning was minimal - so Tommy was in
I looked through a few WR's, especially the winter ones to get some idea of what we can expect.
The plan was to meet up at the parking area at the start for 9am, so that meant setting the alarm for 4.30am and meeting Karen at Perth before 6am Tommy was travelling up in his van the night before so that he could have a lie-in
We arrived at the parking area and after kitting up set off at 9am, there was a definite chill in the air. We were expecting that as we travelled north up the A9 past Dalwhinnie the temperature outside was minus 8, and that resulted in my scoosher being frozen, luckily the windscreen wasn't too bad.
After crossing the road all walkers are greeted by a very friendly white pony, at least that's what we thought it was, although it could even be a horse - no doubt someone will keep us right
Pony or horse?
Quick photo before we hit the track
The initial part of the walk is along a good track, if you have a bike it would certainly be useful for the return part of the day as there would be plenty of freewheeling
As we gained height along the track the views in every direction were stunning, the snow line was obvious
Interupting the locals having breakfast
The first of 2 wire bridges, the second one next
Our crossing point
Prior to crossing the river we discussed the options, I was adamant about utilising the wire bridge, however Tommy and Karen didn't like the look of it and opted to cross by paddling and holding onto the wire, the following photo's are "action shots"
Stepping stones to start off
After the fun and games of the river crossing we followed the track for a short while before it was time to do some 'real' walking. There is an obvious path that heads off to the right, however it wasn't long before we reached the snow. Luckily someone had kindly been here before us and there were obvious footsteps in the snow to follow - a BIG thank you if it was you, we really did appreciate it and sympathise as we all know how tough it is wading through varying snow depths
Next target the first bealach
Karen modelling her sunglasses for the first time, they have been in her rucksack for 120 Munro ascents - excess baggage
Our lunch spot
Tommy had led the way up to the bealach, so I opted to romp off in front so that I could get some front on shots, rather than rear end
Getting a bit steeper
As we were gaining height on the ascent of Sgurr Choinnich we noticed a couple of figures following in our footsteps, we would meet up just before the summit. As is usually the case we all got chatting and I discovered that both of them are lurkers on WH Great to meet you guys HOODY BOY & gilroy1973 and thanks for trailblazing up Sgurr a' Chaorachain
HOODY BOY & gilroy1973
The initial climb up Sgurr Choinnich
As we started gaining height quickly the conditions underfoot were firming up and there were icy patches so it was time to stop and get the winter tackle out It was whilst we doing this that our followers caught us up, mainly because I took so long to put on my crampons and even then I put them on the wrong feet So off we set and it wasn't long before we reached the 'false summit'
Looking across the water to Skye
Taking in the amazing views
Do views get better than this?
Blue or white?
The summits of Sgurr Choinnich and Sgurr a' Chaorachain
Not far to the first summit now
First view of Loch Monar
Once we reached the summit of Sgurr Choinnich we were soon joined by HOODY BOY & gilroy1973, after a few photo's it was time to descend down to the bealach. The initial part of the descent was steepish but not difficult and when we reached the bealach it was just like most bealach's a wind tunnell - definitely not a place to stop
Now for the final push uphill, our two followers had now overtaken us and took over the trailblazing duties - thanks again guys
The final ascent
Coming up from the bealach
HOODY BOY & gilroy1973
The start of the final descent
It was rather chilly on the summit, so after the usual group photo's it was time to head down, our two followers set off first and it wouldn't be too long before we all joined up and descended together.
The WH route does describe the descent as steep and we can certainly endorse that. We initially descended down the obvious shoulder and then headed NW as that looked like the best and safest way down.
The conditions were not ideal for descending, 3 or 4 inches of soft snow on top of ice and in some areas where the wind had taken away the surface snow there was a thinner layer of snow over ice.
Tommy was leading the descent and did a superb job, zig zagging and picking the best lines. It certainly got the adrenaline going and total concentration was required.
Kind of displays the angle of descent
Now on the lower slopes
Looking down, not far now
It was a relief to get on the lower slopes and pack away all the winter gear. We ended up arriving on the track individually for one reason or another and we crossed the river higher up on good stepping stones. Now it was just a matter of walking back to the vehicles.
One last shot looking back
Our equine friend letting us know we didn't have far to go now
We arrived back at the car parking area feeling pretty goosed, it had been a long but fantastic day. We said our goodbyes to HOODY BOY & gilroy1973, maybe meet up again guys - if you keep an eye on the "meets" section on here. Good luck with your 200th Munro
Thanks again to Karen & Tommy for being great company and making this another memorable outing
Not sure what is next on the menu, if it is a Munro I am in for another LONG day, the weather will decide
by kmai1961 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:44 am
No action shots of you crossing on the wire bridge? Here....
Even with Tommy's supervision, you STILL managed to them on the wrong feet?
Ahead on the skyline:
Just before the scary final ridge bit to the first summit (yeah, okay, we'd thought we were at the summit):
Thanks to both Tommy and Martin for great company throughout an amazing day, and to Hoody Boy and gilroy1973 as well, for help over some of the tricky bits. Big thanks to Martin for driving.
by Sunny Speyside » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:11 pm
by BlackPanther » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:08 pm
What a day you had! Just looking at the views gives me goosebumps!
Interesting to see this duo in white. They are great viewpoints. I remember sitting on the summit of Sgurr Choinnich, studying the map and thinking about Lurg Mhor & Cheescake... So close yet so far
I was limping around Loch Coulin that very same day... My dodgy knee prevented me from doing any hills and with such a superb weather I was kickin' myself. Hopefully I'll be fully recovered for WH meet.
by tombombadilio » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:31 pm
I wonder what was the greater hindrance to making good time that day - the deep snow, or just having to stop every 5 minutes to take photos? It's so addictive!
Well done all
by HOODY BOY » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:04 pm
It was good to meet with you all, cheers for the pictures and including Ross and myself in your report.
Who knows, we'll maybe meet again in the future.
Report of the Month? Here's hoping!
Great to meet you and all the best.
by Jock McJock » Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:14 pm
by Beaner001 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:50 pm
Well done Karen on regaining your composure, a fall/slip can fairly knock the wind out your sails
by litljortindan » Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:39 pm
by tommyatr » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:14 am
Until the next one
by Jaxter » Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:21 am
I got my crampons on the wrong way round first time...looks so easy in the shop but then doing it yourself with cold fingers....
It's amazing how much difference it makes having someone else do the driving!
by martin.h » Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:07 pm
Stunning scenery, and of course, I'm not jealous.
by Fife Flyer » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:16 pm
Collaciotach wrote:Superb photos
Sunny Speyside wrote:What a fantastic day you had, so sorry and little bit green that I missed it
It was a long tough day Evie, was expecting sore legs but that didn't materialise
BlackPanther wrote:WOW. What a day you had! Just looking at the views gives me goosebumps!
Thanks BP, hopefully you will be fighting fit for Gairloch, I have ambitious plans - as usual
tombombadilio wrote:'WOW' has been taken, so I'll have to plump for 'AMAZING!' I wonder what was the greater hindrance to making good time that day - the deep snow, or just having to stop every 5 minutes to take photos? It's so addictive! Well done all
Thanks, I did take well over 200 photo's
HOODY BOY wrote:An excellent report and pictures to match! I've had some great days in the mountains but this is up there with the best of them. The weather was perfect, the views amazing and the conditions underfoot made for a challenging day. It was good to meet with you all, cheers for the pictures and including Ross and myself in your report.
Who knows, we'll maybe meet again in the future. Report of the Month? Here's hoping! Great to meet you and all the best. Jim
Thanks for the kind comments Jim, the true hillwalking spirit came to the fore on the descent. Was great to meet you & Ross, good luck on your 200th, you could even do a walk report
Jock McJock wrote:Absolutely stunning! Cracking report and pics
Beaner001 wrote:A fine report and pics Martin
litljortindan wrote:A beautiful looking day but a testing sounding one too.
Thanks, it certainly was
Jaxter wrote:Epic pictures and looks like a super exciting walk too!
Thanks, probably the best conditions for most hills
martin.h wrote:Great photo,s Martin, looks like the weather was perfect (except for the wind tunnel part, I bet that was chilly). Stunning scenery, and of course, I'm not jealous.
Thanks Martin, it was freezing on the bealach & the 2nd summit. Don't forget to PM me when you are heading north again
by old danensian » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:25 pm
I've been off the site and the hills for quite a while and your report has been a great "welcome back"