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From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypass

From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypass


Postby jacob » Sun May 07, 2017 10:45 am

Route description: An Teallach, Dundonnell

Munros included on this walk: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 28/04/2017

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S, the nice bloke from Badrallach's campsite came up to our tent and asked us how An Teallach had been. We admitted to having failed on climbing chockstone gully, (https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=71974) showed him some pictures and some short film shots, and said we'd be doing it again, but this time by the more conservative route. He frowned, as if to say: An Teallach has no conservative route, it is a demanding outing now matter how you do it.

Two early mornings later, same campsite, I spoke to Dave, a friendly gentleman who told me he was going to attempt An Teallach that day. I replied by saying we would meet on one of the summits then, and the mrs and I drove off to the parkingplace at Corriehallie.

From there we followed the track towards Shenavall bothy. By the time we were out of the forest, near Coire Chaorachain, we were overtaken by Dave, who at 60 years of age seemed (and later on proved) to be of greater fitness than the both of us.

We started talking and by the time we had reached the slopes of Sail Liath, we were having a good time and a good conversation. Our party of two was strengthened by Dave, who had 201 Munros to his name. Good for us with only 2 to our names. :lol:

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This is exactly the slog up Sail Liath we were foolishly trying to avoid two days before.


On the slopes of Sail Liath, we soon discovered that the powdered snow we experienced two days ago had turned into wet and slippery snow. Add some lemonade and you'd have a slush puppie. This snow made the going tough and we'd be mostly rockhopping to avoid it.

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The views on the Fisherfields are amazing though, with Beinn Dearg Mor as the icing on the cake. A very fine looking mountain that I'd hoped to climb this holiday, but didn't get to do.


Bits of blue sky were scarce but the views were mostly good up till now.

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I can't quite remember wether this is the view down from Sail Liath or Stob Cadha Gobhlach. But it's a fine view nonetheless.


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Dave and the mrs coming down from again I don't know wether it's Sail Liath or Stob Cadha Gobhlach.


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And a view backwards, with ofcourse again the Fisherfields.


All the snow we met till now was of slushpuppie quality. We agreed on seeing what it looks like on Corrag Bhuidhe, but chances where we weren't up for going over the pinnacles.

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This is me walking down the bealach just before Corrag Bhuidhe.


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And this is Dave and the mrs standing at the bealach, admiring the views that the clouds every now and then allowed you to get of Toll an Lochain


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And another one of that, showing how overwhelming and spacious this place is.


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Crossing the bealach, just before the climb up Corrag Bhuidhe


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And a peek through chockstone gully, our failed route of ascent two days before. Maybe just for the best...


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Taking a break for a quick bite.


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And to drink in some of the views, which are amazing.


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Fisherfields in clouds.


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Beinn Dearg Mor


By this time we decided the snow was of such poor quality that we'd exclude the pinnacles and take the bypass path. Wether that was a smart move or not I don't know. The very steep bypass path in watery snow might have been equally dangerous as taking the pinnacles. Who's to say. Frankly, it was quite scary at times with no grip whatsoever but a deep drop at your left.
While following the bypasspath more and more clouds rolled in.

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Clouds rolling in


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And more


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By the time we got to the slopes of Sgurr Fiona, there was hardly anything left of the views we enjoyed before. And it kept on getting worse. At the summit we were all in cloud with no view whatsoever.


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By the time we were back at the Bealach between Sgurr Fiona and Bidein a Ghlas Thuill skies cleared again, be it only for a short time. Just enough to enjoy the views and get some shots of them.


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So we went on our way to the second Munro of the day, hoping for clear views.


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But by the time we got there, skies were all covered up again. But where there's a trickpoint, there's the obligatory trickpointshot. Delivered to us by a very nice couple we met at the summit.


We'd thought about shortening the outing by taking the way out via Glas Tholl instead of taking the path towards Dundonnell Hotel. After a peek to see wether that was a reasonable option we decided to give it a go. The path was steep at first and very eroded, but still it was good going. By the time we'd reached more level grounds it again became very boggy. I don't know if the way out towards Dundonnell Hotel is as boggy as this one, but I'd advise this route only after a dry spell. It was a long slog through mud, but with views on the crags of Glas Mheall Liath to make up for that. Nevertheless a tiring end to a beautiful day.

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The crags of Glas Mheall Liath


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Dave and the mrs making their way down.


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And a last pic while still on solid rocky ground. Further down I slipped and fell so many times on boggy peat (Dave laughed and said he had never seen anyone fall that many times), I couldn't be bothered to take anymore pictures of the route, nor of the beautiful waterfalls you pass.


After the walk, there was no time for a drink together, but Dave and I did exchange emailadresses. I hope to receive some of his photos as well, which I'll be posting in the replies.
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby Mal Grey » Sun May 07, 2017 11:08 am

Pretty much full winter conditions on top, that's quite a challenging day!

I've always looked at these bypass paths on the famous scrambles ; An Teallach, Liathach etc, and thought they looked far less secure than taking the rocky route over the pinnacles. Especially in snow! Good effort.
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby Sgurr » Sun May 07, 2017 11:46 am

Good for you. Some of that looked quite scary.

We once met a guy from Inverness who said that he was called Dave "Everyone from Inverness is called Dave!" We relayed this to the next guy we met from Inverness, on the summit of Ben Lair, and he admitted that he was called Dave too....a shy Dave, since he bashfully declined my request to pretend to be a singing telegram to celebrate husband's final Corbett.
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby jacob » Sun May 07, 2017 6:20 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Pretty much full winter conditions on top, that's quite a challenging day!

I've always looked at these bypass paths on the famous scrambles ; An Teallach, Liathach etc, and thought they looked far less secure than taking the rocky route over the pinnacles. Especially in snow! Good effort.


Thanks Mal. And yes I read on this site that in certain conditions the scramble is actually safer. It's all between the ears though and the snow was terribly slippery.
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby jacob » Sun May 07, 2017 6:22 pm

Sgurr wrote:Good for you. Some of that looked quite scary.

We once met a guy from Inverness who said that he was called Dave "Everyone from Inverness is called Dave!" We relayed this to the next guy we met from Inverness, on the summit of Ben Lair, and he admitted that he was called Dave too....a shy Dave, since he bashfully declined my request to pretend to be a singing telegram to celebrate husband's final Corbett.


Thanks Sgurr. Haha, well, not every Dave is like any other Dave apparantly. Our Dave (yeah, I'll call him our Dave) wouldn't have minded singing to neither you nor your husband, I'm sure. :lol:
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby Alteknacker » Mon May 15, 2017 10:10 pm

Glad to see that you got up in the end. All's well that ends well!

This is one I still have to do - hopefully this year...
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby jacob » Tue May 16, 2017 4:31 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Glad to see that you got up in the end. All's well that ends well!

This is one I still have to do - hopefully this year...


Agree, and good luck to you.
Looking forward to your report.

Got Dave's photos in as well, here's some of them:

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View from just before Corrag Bhuidhe


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making our way up to the bypass on Corrag Bhuidhe


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Confidence rope on the steep parts of the bypass path


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Crags of Ghlas Tholl
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Tue May 16, 2017 9:24 pm

I enjoyed your report but that did sound quite hairy in wet slushy snow, Shame you didn't get more views but the cloud adds some good atmosphere to your pictures We hope to up there this year, preferable in the dry so we can over the pinnacles, I am not keen on the exposure on bypass paths :lol: .
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby dav2930 » Tue May 16, 2017 9:57 pm

Well done both (and Dave), that's an adventurous day, especially with snow on the ground. I imagine the by-pass path must have felt pretty 'out there' - ice axes of limited use in that thin, slushy stuff. May well have been safer going along the crest. Shame about the clag but no less memorable for that :clap:
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Re: From powdered snow to slushpuppie on An Teallach's bypas

Postby jacob » Wed May 17, 2017 6:32 pm

Cairngorm creeper wrote:I enjoyed your report but that did sound quite hairy in wet slushy snow, Shame you didn't get more views but the cloud adds some good atmosphere to your pictures We hope to up there this year, preferable in the dry so we can over the pinnacles, I am not keen on the exposure on bypass paths :lol: .


I'd rather have taken on the pinnacles as well, so I hope you have better luck. I guess the bypass paths are ok when dry. Good thing there's this stuff called adrenalin, because in retrospective it may not have been all that smart to take the bypass in slushy snow :lol:

dav2930 wrote:Well done both (and Dave), that's an adventurous day, especially with snow on the ground. I imagine the by-pass path must have felt pretty 'out there' - ice axes of limited use in that thin, slushy stuff. May well have been safer going along the crest. Shame about the clag but no less memorable for that :clap:


Thanks Dav. I know the axes were of limited use, as was the confidence rope, as were the crampons to be honoust. But I was so set on completing, that combining these tools felt safe enough. As I said above: adrenalin is a dodgy advisor :wink:
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