A climb and scrambles in the Cairngorms 19.6km 1740m 9h 31th May 1997
Braeriach is Alan Melroses final Monro and so a KMC clan gathering will welcome him here to greet his final cairn.
I have my own agenda which should tie in nicely with the celebratory meet and give Dawn Scott who has express the desire to become a ML, her climbing tick. Having cragged together at Loudoun, Neilston and the Quadrocks, this is her first major route. The day is looking good, wispy cloud, warm sun with little wind, a perfect day for climbing.
Starting earlier from the Coire Cas cp, we head SW on a good path for the Northern Corries. Past ski lifts, ignore the first turn off, cross burn, then up over heather and small scree, for some scrambling experience on the Faicaill ridge. Crossing granite boulders, to a flat section, I point out the twin lochans in Coire an t`Sneachda, Aladdin’s buttress and the goat track route to the Cairngorm plateau. Coire an lochan comes into view, the sheer rock face looks awesome and it is. I indicate our route, an 80m vertical slot in the rock known as “Savage slit” a severe graded rock climb. On my todo list since reading Ken Wison`s “Classic Rock”. Our way steepens for a wall but there’s plenty of purchase over the rough blocks and we are soon at the top. L lies Cairngorm, while S, the bulk of Beinn Macdui. A cairn marks the end of the ridge, here we downclimb into the coire, cross the Great Slabs, then scree to the base of our climb. I uncoil the rope, as we gear up and tie on. I smile and check her knots, (she is nervous) then start the climb. An easy 10m gains the bottom of the Slit, a strait narrow chimney soars above me. Yeah ! Using a rh crack and good ledges in the walls of the chimney I make use of gear left in situ, so make rapid progress. Link the first two pitches together then belay at a chockstone to bring her up. Slow movement but soon she is with me and tied into the belay point then I`m up the next long pitch to top out and she follows me up. A superb climb. Congrats, coil the rope, bag the gear then down S to the March burn`s lochan for a break. Drop with burn into the Lairig Ghru for the “Pools of Dee”.twin lochans. Here at the high point of the pass, we splash over the river cutting across the shoulder of Sron na Lairige for Coire Bhrochain. Over heather and broken ground towards the black mass of cliffs that is Braeriach. Enter then a flat basin, the floor of the coire and its lochan. A prominent gully to the R is known by East Gully and the R hand trend of this gives a good 100m scramble up a rib, to easier ground, a tower, some steeper steps to where ramps reach the broad expanse at the top. Our timing is spot on as we crest the cliff face. To our left is the cairn and celebrating club members welcoming Alan on his great achievement, and us, as we join the party. Its a 10k stretch around corrie Garbh to the peaks of the Southern munros, done with my son a couple of years ago. E the Cairngorm plateau and Macdui, this is some place to hold a party. In good spirits and a slower pace, we head down the stony slopes of Lairige to heather and the Ghru. We stay high while crossing the Chalmain Gap then return to the ski cp. Debag the gear, head for the Star Hotel @Kingussie and a welcomed meal.
A super day made better by the willingness of my companion.
Dawn would move to fort bill and become a ML with outward bound @ Loch Eil. For 11yrs she held the female record for “ the Phillip Tranter Round” running the munros on both sides of Glen Nevis, in under 16hrs. Some feat.
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