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Ridiculous week part 1
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:46 pm
Route description: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Carn Ghluasaid and Sail Chaorainn
Munros included on this walk: Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean
Date walked: 13/03/20161 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Funnily enough, like my earlier stay in this area (see http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=58389) the brooding light gave a sombre beauty to all these hills around Cluanie. So I decided that the Sgurr nan C set of pics was worth including and doing a TR for them.
With a flurry of avalanches a week or so before, it seemed sensible to use south-facing ridge routes - and the stalkers' path up Carn Ghlusaid seemed ideal in that respect. Our plans turned out correct, apart from one minor problem - more of that later...
It is a quick drive from Invergarry to the parking spot at Loch Cluanie, and we followed the military road up to near the radio antenna. The skyline here is Creag a'Mhaim and Druim Shionnach.
IMG_6577 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The stalkers' path branches off very obviously near the antenna, and is well-graded and easy to follow. Where the path crosses slabs, the route is marked by a line of boulders.
IMG_6586 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
From here we had a steely vista of Spidean Mialach behind Creag a'Mhaim's east ridge.
IMG_6592 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
As we climbed, peaks emerged to the west too, above the Drochaid an Tuill Easaich ridge. Right to left - Aonach Meadhoin, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg and Sgurr Fhuaran.
IMG_6608 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
At this point the path, which has been so easy, ran straight into a bank of deep snow. High temperatures made the snowdrift like a giant soggy meringue. We avoided it by going straight up the slope and emerged on the ridge line of Carn Ghlusaid with a great view down to Loch Cluanie and the whole South Cluanie ridge.
IMG_6626 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
To the South, brooding light filtered through onto the loch below the Druim nan Cnamh - Beinn Loinne ridge.
IMG_6635 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The flat summit of Carn Ghlusaid does not really feel like a Munro in itself, because the ridge to the West undulates, rather than dips properly, before rising to the obviously much bigger Sgurr nan Conbhairean. Of which there were great views from the edge of the scarp...
IMG_6650 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Sgurr nan Conbhairean looms massively beyond the cairn while we make important decisions about snacks.
IMG_6659 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Moody Blues - strange glowing light away in the west gave an almost blue fluorescence to Sgurr na Carnach and Sgurr Fhuaran, beyond Aonach Meadhoin and Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg.
IMG_6664 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
We set off westwards, with views of the cornicing all along the ridgeline
IMG_6678 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Occasional glimpses of Loch Cluanie far below
IMG_6676 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Trogging along with the cornices for company...
IMG_6690 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The last col below the rise to Sgurr nan Conbhairean. Beyond Aonach Meadhoin are Faochag and the Saddle, with the Sgurr nan Forcan and the dark line of its arete immediately below the summit.
IMG_6696 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Before starting the plod up to the summit, we looked back at the South Cluanie ridge - this is Aonach air Chrith, with Maol Chinn-Dearg beyond.
IMG_6699 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Starting out on the climb up the summit ridge... bits and bobs of cloud blowing past us
IMG_6706 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
However we could still look over the edge down into the cavernous Glen Doe
IMG_6711 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
A happy moment - the summit cairn. Although we were now briefly in full-on clag, we still got a sense of the dominance of this peak and its supporting ridges and faces dropping away steeply on all sides. A superb mountain-top which I must revisit in clear weather!
IMG_6717 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
But then things improved - a gap in the cloud gave us a view westwards. The ridges bottom-to-top are Drochaid an Tuill Easaich, south ridge of A'Chralaig, the peaks of Aonach Meadhoin, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, and in the distance Sgurr na Sgine and Faochag, with The Saddle head-in-the-clouds.
IMG_6737 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
To the north-west we could see Mullach Fraoch-Choire and Sgurr nan Ceathreamnan.
IMG_6744 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
As we are not counting Munros we did not need, or want, to add on the dog-leg of Sail Chaorainn. One for another day and nice weather. Time to head on down.
IMG_6748 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
IMG_6761 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
We did not need to go back up to Carn Ghusaid, instead we contoured the head of the shallow southern corrie of the range (Coire Lair?) to rejoin the stalkers' path at the ridgeline. One of our party was a bit faster than the rest of us and sat on the ridge-top waiting for us.
IMG_6772 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
The sting in the tail was the big snowdrift across the path. We decided to cross it to reach a relatively snow-free slope. Mostly the crossing was fine - deep steps in a yielding pile of mush - but at one point my foot went in too deep, jarring my metal knee.
The snow half-solidified in a kind of giant Slush Puppy around my boot, trapping me. I had to dig it out laboriously using my ice axe. Not my finest hour.
The twist on my knee meant that sadly I had to take one day off climbing hills later in the week, although I did put that day to extremely good scenic use, as a later report will show.
by Alteknacker » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:58 pm
by HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:02 am
Alteknacker wrote:Looks like a fine ridge, and I have this in mind for later in the year, so thanks for posting.
Cheers Alteknacker, yes a good ridge route. I'd recommend making it a horseshoe by descending the Drochaid an Tuill Easaich ridge.
When we were there, all the melting snowdrifts meant that we decided to go back down the way we'd come - but that ridge looked like a fine descent route in normal conditions.
by Beery Hiker » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:07 am