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Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Dipping my toe in Glencoe


Postby teaandpies » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:34 pm

Route description: Creise and Meall a'Bhuiridh from the Ski centre

Munros included on this walk: Creise, Meall a'Bhuiridh

Date walked: 14/01/2017

Time taken: 5.25 hours

Distance: 10.5 km

Ascent: 1110m

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In the eyes of a few of the forum users unless you've actually done something you can't comment on certain topics in the equipment section even if you know what you're talking about...I'm pretty sure the mathematicians that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon would have something to say about that kind of thinking but whatever.

I've stood on a snow capped Ben More & Stob Binnein, the 16th & 18th highest Munros, but today would be my first proper winter walk as in high hill walk during winter.

STARRING:
Snow, Ice, Wind, Runny noses and A frozen beard.

I've been humming and hawing over these 2 hills for ages, I had written them off to be honest, I just kinda looked at them the same way as the Glenshee hills, hills to be done for the sake of ticking them off. Humm maybe these hills would be good start for winter walking.

I'd be joined by my buddy Pieplough whom had a fairly disappointing 2016 hill walking wise so he was keen to get the legs stretched. I picked him up around 7am and headed for Glencoe. Having just passed his driving test I'm looking forward to having him pick me up for a change, hopefully in the near future :wink:

The walk description for these 2 says that only the 'laziest of hill walkers would use the chairlift to avoid the steep start' but some might argue the smartest would :lol: so the chairlift was used.
No regrets, it was such a peaceful ride, I enjoyed it. I like these sorts of things, I've been up the gondola at the Nevis Range and the funicular railway at the Cairngorm mountain so I took the opportunity to have a ride here. It's unlikely I'll revisit the ski centre again.

Once off the lift I realised I left my poles in the car. I'm pretty much a total dual pole convert now so I knew I might regret not having them.

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Glencoe Ski Centre

The frozen waterfall was a highlight, no pictures because I didn't want to drop my phone!

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Chairlift

After seeing the views from Beinn a'Chrulaiste in one of videos produced by 'Scotland Mountains' I would like to get up that hill on a cracking day, it was on the cards for this day but I couldn't pass up the chance to do a couple of Munros in this weather window.

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Beinn a'Chrulaiste

When we arrived just before 9am the car was practically empty and the hill was quite. Only one or 2 skiers around.

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Ski bumph

The higher we got the better the views were, naturally.

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Buachaille Etive Mor

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A first glimpse of Creise

Making our own way up the hill as we couldn't find the path. The going was easy enough but there were a couple of patches of sheet ice to be avoided and a few snow drifts that were deep. We also kept clear of the ski runs.

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Our route up

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Glencoe and beyond

We knew the top wasn't far off as the grass had given way to barren rock.

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At the time we didn't know it but we had stopped just shy of the summit for a little breakfast. I managed to eat half a roll, I struggle to eat when out walking.

Once breakfast was done it was back to the walk but we'd not have to go far to reach the top :crazy:

Met with a spectacular sight that I/my phone camera failed capture I was a bit taken aback by the beautiful views.

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The top

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Couldn't do the view justice

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Panorama

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Making for the top

Even better views from the summit. We lingered only for a few minutes because the wind was blasting, so much so that my beard froze...does this make me a proper mountaineer? :lol:

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Joined by few snow sport enthusiasts

The below picture isn't a very good image but looking over to Creise as you cross the ridge you are just looking at a massive overbearing wall.

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The great wall of Creise

I was expecting a ridge that was narrower but it was still fun especially in the wind. The wind was at it's strongest here, it was uncomfortable. The snotters were running freely from my nose like a dripping tap and there was nothing I could do to control it.

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The ridge

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Getting there

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Creise

Once up the wee scramble which was a easier than expected (even with the snow and ice) it was time to take a little breather...enough time for 1 picture only and it was straight back to it so I was walking and taking pictures at the same time :roll:

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Meall a'Bhuiridh

It was easy going from here but we were sure to not walk right on the edge. The rocky approach was a bit of an annoyance but careful placement of the feet ensured no falls.

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Hi there

We reached the summit without breaking an ankle took a few snaps before heading over to the slightly lower top.

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Pieplough at the top

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Looking to Stob a'Ghlais Choire

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Looking to Buachaille Etive Mor

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A dramatic view back along the ridge

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White

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Buachaille Etive Mor

We had a some lunch before we crossed back over the joining ridge. My water tube had frozen as we summited Meall a'Bhuiridh and remained that way for the rest of the walk. The thing is I actually have the insulating tube for my bladder but I couldn't be arsed with it's bulk :roll:
The ice axe also remained on my back the entire walk, it's the Petzl Glacier (60cm) if anybody cares. 350g on my pack and I didn't even notice it was there.

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Frozen

The scramble down offered a little bit more of a challenge but it was still easy enough however once we were off the steep part and on to a relative flat section I took a step and BOOM slammed hard on my back straight onto my back. The snow was hiding ice and without my poles I wasn't able to keep myself upright. The wind was knocked out of me for a minute and I'm 100% confident that my bag saved me from a real sore one. My first concern was my bladder, had it burst? Luck be with me it hadn't.
Now I was thinking, if my water pipe hadn't frozen there wouldn't be as much water in the bladder to help cushion my fall? One thing I do know is my poles would have prevented me or at the very least slowed my decent by offering me a little control over how I fall.

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Lead on

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Once over the ridge and around the top we picked out way down the rocks, this was slower going that I though it would be we got bored of this and headed for the snow, this was far more fun. Running down the snow made the going seem faster but after a while the snow got really deep and things got tough. At points I'd lose my entire leg to the white stuff, ach I haven't had a roll in snow since I was a wane so why not enjoy one now, so I did :D

We came across some folk doing a winter skills course, as they were learning to self arrest we were running down the snowy slope...I can only wonder what they were thinking :lol: They were 'dressed to the nines' in safty gear helmets and everything as we messing around.

We got to the upper café which was closed earlier in the day but now was jumping with snow sports types and families enjoying the sledging area which looked disappointingly short and not very steep. I shudder now at the thought of some of the things I would take my sledge (the top of an old washing machine) down when I was a child.

From here it was an easy jaunt to the chairlift station and another peaceful ride back to the bottom for hot cup of sweet tea, magic. If only all hills had chairlifts and tea facilities :lol:

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One final snap of BEM

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Weeeeeeeee
Last edited by teaandpies on Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
teaandpies
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby basscadet » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:01 pm

No shame in taking the lift - there are onmly a few, so better to make use of them when the chance arises - far more fun than sweaty trudging... :clap:
Such a bonny day on Saturday as your photos show - I too had an 'ice hidden by snow' incident, and managed to give myself a right good crack on the noggin :crazy:
When I was a bairn, we had a morris minor bonnet we used for heather sledging (found in a peat bog several miles from tarmac so goodness knows where it originated). In deep heather, snow is unnecessary for sledging, so I am left wondering why people wait for the snow :lol:
Braw report, really enjoyed :D
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:49 pm

Really enjoyed your report especially as these are on our winter to do list. :clap: By taking the ski lift you missed a grotty eroded path strewn with trip you up cables from the ski lift, so definitely a wise choice.
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby teaandpies » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:56 pm

basscadet wrote:No shame in taking the lift - there are onmly a few, so better to make use of them when the chance arises - far more fun than sweaty trudging... :clap:
Such a bonny day on Saturday as your photos show - I too had an 'ice hidden by snow' incident, and managed to give myself a right good crack on the noggin :crazy:
When I was a bairn, we had a morris minor bonnet we used for heather sledging (found in a peat bog several miles from tarmac so goodness knows where it originated). In deep heather, snow is unnecessary for sledging, so I am left wondering why people wait for the snow :lol:
Braw report, really enjoyed :D


No shame here 8)

I hope you're alright! What happened? I was lucky enough to avoid lots and lots of rocks.

Perhaps that car bonnet was being used as a sledge before you found it :lol:
It's a decent shape for sledging, it'd be like snow (or heather) boat :o

Cairngorm creeper wrote:Really enjoyed your report especially as these are on our winter to do list. :clap: By taking the ski lift you missed a grotty eroded path strewn with trip you up cables from the ski lift, so definitely a wise choice.


Cheers. I figured the initial start wouldn't be much fun.
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby dogplodder » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:43 pm

Quite right to take the chair. As someone else says it's not a nice path. I did this pair last summer so it was good to see them again with their winter coat on. :D
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby gman » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:01 pm

teaandpies wrote:In the eyes of a few of the forum users unless you've actually done something you can't comment on certain topics in the equipment section even if you know what you're talking about...I'm pretty sure the mathematicians that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon would have something to say about that kind of thinking but whatever.


Good report, these 2 via the chair lift would be an easy introduction to winter mountaineering. I'm curious about this quote though, where does your knowledge of winter gear come from given your admitted lack of experience - you have mentioned that you have some connection with retailers?
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:40 pm

gman wrote:
teaandpies wrote:In the eyes of a few of the forum users unless you've actually done something you can't comment on certain topics in the equipment section even if you know what you're talking about...I'm pretty sure the mathematicians that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon would have something to say about that kind of thinking but whatever.


Good report, these 2 via the chair lift would be an easy introduction to winter mountaineering. I'm curious about this quote though, where does your knowledge of winter gear come from given your admitted lack of experience - you have mentioned that you have some connection with retailers?


Training and research. The last lot I done was at Glenmore Lodge with Lyon Equipment (just one example). I pretty sure I told you this already. That particular training focused on Petzl. Axes, their new crampons, head lamps and La Sportiva boots etc.
I've sat down with the Black Diamonds distributors and other brands like Arc'teryx, Goretex, Haglofs, Garmin, Meindl, Oakley to name a few. I even have some Ski gear knowledge despite never putting a pair of Skis on my feet.
I also have a brother in the RAF Mountain Rescue. I work with trad climbers, sailors, runners, snowboarders, ski touring enthusiasts, ice climbers so no lack of experience to draw from.
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby rockhopper » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:53 pm

Nice day for it - always good to get clear conditions up here :thumbup:

Re the frozen bladder tube - after taking a sip of water, I generally blow the water in the tube back into the bladder so that it doesn't freeze - seems to work for me.

teaandpies wrote:Once off the lift I realised I left my poles in the car. I'm pretty much a total dual pole convert now so I knew I might regret not having them.
Ah well, make it harder for yourself as a trade off against taking the the easy option of the chairlift :wink: :wink: - cheers :)
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby baggervance » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:09 pm

Hi Tea and Pies

I met you guys on the hill as we passed each other a few times between the 2 summits. I had stopped for tomato soup when you first passed me. When I made my way back down the ridge after Creise I did wonder how you would cope without the poles as they made it a lot easier in the conditions. Glad you are OK after your fall. Like we spoke about on the hill I didn't think these 2 would be much cop but I really enjoyed the summit to summit walk and the views were spectacular.

I'll look out for you on future hills

All the best

BV
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:55 pm

rockhopper wrote:Nice day for it - always good to get clear conditions up here :thumbup:

Re the frozen bladder tube - after taking a sip of water, I generally blow the water in the tube back into the bladder so that it doesn't freeze - seems to work for me.

teaandpies wrote:Once off the lift I realised I left my poles in the car. I'm pretty much a total dual pole convert now so I knew I might regret not having them.
Ah well, make it harder for yourself as a trade off against taking the the easy option of the chairlift :wink: :wink: - cheers :)


I did consider blowing the water back into the bladder but I didn't think it was cold enough to freeze...lessons learned! Like I say I have insulation for it and it comes with a huge cap to cover the bite valve but I don't like using it so I'll be doing as you suggest in the future :thumbup: . The water didn't go to waste, I used it to top up my screen wash :wink:

baggervance wrote:Hi Tea and Pies

I met you guys on the hill as we passed each other a few times between the 2 summits. I had stopped for tomato soup when you first passed me. When I made my way back down the ridge after Creise I did wonder how you would cope without the poles as they made it a lot easier in the conditions. Glad you are OK after your fall. Like we spoke about on the hill I didn't think these 2 would be much cop but I really enjoyed the summit to summit walk and the views were spectacular.

I'll look out for you on future hills

All the best

BV


We were looking for ya on the way down but you must have been flying. Did you take the lift down? My mate was eyeing up your jacket :lol:
I've actually not stopped thinking about tomato soup since Saturday, I'll need to pick up some soon :lol:
Once clear of the ski runs the walk was enjoyable and as you mention the view were excellent, we felt very lucky to have had such good conditions.

I'm fine after my slam. I had carefully navigated the harder down scramble section but got caught on a wee flat bit. A guy my size falling over is never a pretty sight :lol:
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby BoyVertiginous » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:05 pm

rockhopper wrote:Nice day for it - always good to get clear conditions up here :thumbup:

Re the frozen bladder tube - after taking a sip of water, I generally blow the water in the tube back into the bladder so that it doesn't freeze - seems to work for me.


Never thought of that, rh, shall give it a go.

Rather than wearing it out front on my rucksack strap, I usually stick the tube down between my back and my pack in Winter, either to prevent it freezing or to defrost.

Out of curiosity, t&p, how much is the gondola? :roll: Not sure how I feel about taking it, probably won't know until I'm stood beside it but, if it's a fine day and I have no time constraints, I know I'd struggle to justify it to myself. Then again, I've a mate who'd have no qualms (and a few injury/fitness issues) so, if we're there together it's likely to be utilised!
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:41 pm

BoyVertiginous wrote:
rockhopper wrote:Nice day for it - always good to get clear conditions up here :thumbup:

Re the frozen bladder tube - after taking a sip of water, I generally blow the water in the tube back into the bladder so that it doesn't freeze - seems to work for me.


Never thought of that, rh, shall give it a go.

Rather than wearing it out front on my rucksack strap, I usually stick the tube down between my back and my pack in Winter, either to prevent it freezing or to defrost.

Out of curiosity, t&p, how much is the gondola? :roll: Not sure how I feel about taking it, probably won't know until I'm stood beside it but, if it's a fine day and I have no time constraints, I know I'd struggle to justify it to myself. Then again, I've a mate who'd have no qualms (and a few injury/fitness issues) so, if we're there together it's likely to be utilised!


Adult prices.

The standard price for a shot on the Chairlift in Glencoe is £10 per person, expensive for sure.

The standard price for the Nevis Range Gondola is £13

The standard price for Cairngorm Railway is £12
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby katyhills » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:56 pm

Cracking set of photos tea'n'pies. You were right enough about getting the weather there on Saturday! Such is the way of it on the hills eh? :D
Hope you're not still in pain from your fall. Why does it always happen after you've done all the tricky bits? :wink:
I usually manage it when I'm nearly back at the car - on a nice flat bit of ath as well :oops:

I'd reckon it's not a bad shout to use the lift for walking those two in winter. It saves time when you have less daylight too. It's a helluva schlepp up that r*ddy hill, and even worse coming down - the knees and feet really object, or mine did anyway. I did them on a hot day many years ago which was possibly worse than on a cold day. I was really feeling it by the time I got back to the car :roll:
Having said that, I think the walk between the two is great and makes for terrific photos. The views aren't bad either :D
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby goth_angel » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:29 pm

Good entertaining report. I hope your back is ok.

We did the first of your hills in winter conditions (late snow in April of all things) and used the chairlift. I don't really see the problem using it tbh though have been made aware that some 'purists' view it as 'cheating'. I certainly don't! Used the gondola on Aonach Mor too.

Didn't go on to Creise as I'd started out late and was a bit below par but the views from MaB in snow are top banana.
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Re: Dipping my toe in Glencoe

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:54 pm

katyhills wrote:Hope you're not still in pain from your fall.


I acted like it didn't hurt at the time but it was a bit sore. Totally fine now but my knees are felling it still which is a little longer than normal...results of not having my poles I suspect :roll:

I fall a lot, I'm a faller :lol:

goth_angel wrote:Good entertaining report. I hope your back is ok.

We did the first of your hills in winter conditions (late snow in April of all things) and used the chairlift. I don't really see the problem using it tbh though have been made aware that some 'purists' view it as 'cheating'. I certainly don't! Used the gondola on Aonach Mor too.

Didn't go on to Creise as I'd started out late and was a bit below par but the views from MaB in snow are top banana.


Cheers, the views were incredible.

I don't think using the chairlift is bad. I have no issues contributing to the local economy and the preservation of folks jobs.
So many hill walkers travel long distances and never spend a penny in the area, I always try to buy something even if its only a bottle of water or an ice cream.
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