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revisit gael charn plateau- beware the visibility

revisit gael charn plateau- beware the visibility


Postby campervan » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:49 pm

Route description: Geal Chàrn, Monadhliath

Munros included on this walk: Geal Chàrn (Monadhliath)

Date walked: 17/09/2016

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 640m

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GaelCharn2.jpg
From the top of the spur, knolls in foreground, summit still 500m off.
I took a saunter up here on the classic route in November last year. It got clagged out above 600m, with snow on the ground and poor visibility, down to 20m.
Well, I followed the spur onto the plateau until it seemed to be dropping, but there was no sign of a cairn. And no paths around to help. I found out there was huge cairn only when I got home. Sometimes the internet just doesn't help....
So, spare evening this summer and i went back up.
The plateau is a bit disorientating, but I see where I went wrong. On the 1 in 50k maps it odesnt look like there is a drop, but the 1 in 25k show a couple of knolls about 500m before the summit. I didn't go onto the descent after these knolls. Its only about 2 or 3 m, but in the clag it confused me.

Anyway, heres a pic looking from the top of the spur, knolls in foreground and summit about 500m off. hopefully with the compass you can see a bearing.
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Re: revisit gael charn plateau- beware the visibility

Postby mrssanta » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:23 pm

that's useful thanks
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Re: revisit gael charn plateau- beware the visibility

Postby jmarkb » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:56 pm

Winter navigation is tricky - don't worry, it will come with experience. In this instance the lack of any cairn or other marker is a big clue you aren't at the top! (In heavy snow winters, like 2014/14, even pretty big cairns can get buried, though.)

The best technique is this case would be pacing and/or timing: you should be able to identify the change in angle at the 900m contour and then measure out the distance from there to the summit. This could then have alerted you that the knolls came much too soon to be the top. And even though the knolls aren't marked on the 1:50k, there is a slight necking of the 900m contour which hints at a possible dip in the plateau.
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