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Caroline, No

Caroline, No


Postby Pointless Parasite » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:39 am

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Oss

Date walked: 09/12/2017

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1207m

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What do you do if you've booked a trip to the highlands two months in advance and managed to pick the exact dates when a major storm is blowing in? Storm Caroline was forecast to be bringing 90 mph winds and snow on the day I was traveling up and 45 mph winds, snow and -8 Celsius temperatures with a -20 windchill the day I was supposed to be walking. I'd originally planned to climb Ben Lui but it didn't seem sensible to be attempting a steep and potentially avalanche prone mountain in stormy conditions. I had no idea what the snow cover was like on Lui, and to even take a look would have involved a long walk up to Cononish. So I opted instead for the easier Munros of Beinn Dubhcraig and Ben Oss. Remarkably, it turned into one of the best days I've ever had in the highlands :D


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Image
Coire Dubhcraig by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

I'd decided on a slightly different route to normal, heading up the North East shoulder, which leads directly to the summit.

Image
Beinn Dubhcraig NE shoulder by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Beinn Chuirn by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Up to now, the wind was reasonably light but picked up significantly as I made it onto the shoulder:

Image
Beinn Dubhcraig NE shoulder 2 by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Fiarach by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Spindrift everywhere:

Image
Spindrift by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Beinn Challuim and Tyndrum hills by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

On the summit of Beinn Dubhcraig:

Image
Beinn Dubhcraig summit by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Oss from Beinn Dubhcraig by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lui from Beinn Dubhcraig by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

While descending from Beinn Dubhcraig, conditions started to deteriorate. The Tyndrum hills were now obscured and it was only a matter of time before Ben Oss was gone, too.

Image
Bealach Buidhe by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

The last time I was in the highlands I lost one of my crampons. After getting a new pair I was determined to be more careful this time. While descending from Dubhcraig I noticed the left crampon had come loose. I took my gloves off to sort this out, while casually trapping the gloves with my knee. After I'd re-attached the crampon, one of the gloves escaped and started blowing away. I lunged for it without securing the other glove, and suddenly I was faced with both gloves being blown out of my grasp. Over the next few seconds I made a series of wild dives over the snow and somehow managed to catch both of the gloves. It was a good job. Later I took one off to eat some lunch and by the time I'd eaten a sandwich my right hand was throbbing with pain from the cold. If I'd lost even one glove I would have been forced to descent sharpish.

Image
Beinn Dubhcraig from Ben Oss by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Oss East face by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Oss by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

On the summit of Oss:

Image
Ben Oss summit by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Cruachan range by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lui from Ben Oss by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lui from Ben Oss 2 by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Beinn Buidhe looking brutal. It seemed to have an aura of spindrift:

Image
Beinn Buidhe by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Arrochar Alps by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lomond by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Without really thinking about it, I started descending Oss to the South West, towards Lui. I figured that I could easily return via Coire Laoigh after reached the low point of the bealach between Oss and Lui.

Image
Coire Laoigh from Ben Oss by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Up until now, the wind was just a minor annoyance, but down here it started to get seriously unpleasant. I was getting blasted with spindrift and repeatedly slapped in the face with loose straps from my rucksack.

Image
Ben Oss descent by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

I decided to head straight down into Coire Laoigh, from just before Creag Dhubh a' Bhealaich. It looked a more interesting route and got me out of the wind almost immediately. It was a fairly easy decent, except for a bit of very minor ice climbing at one point:

Image
Coire Laoigh descent by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lui from Coire Laoigh descent by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Coire Laoigh by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Nanga Parbat:

Image
Ben Lui from Coire Laoigh by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

I'd finished my flask of tea but still had a bottle of water left. It wasn't until I reached for it that it occurred to me that it had been out in -8 degrees for several hours and has almost entirely frozen.

Oh the irony....

Image
Frozen water by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Ben Lui from Coire Laoigh 2 by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

At this point, I caught sight of other walkers for the first time, near the end of the Cononish track. The next time I saw them I realised they were heading up Ben Lui, not down. It was 1.30 pm, so they were leaving it pretty late if they wanted to descent before darkness

Image
Coire Gaothach by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

This is where I completely screwed up. I'd managed to find my way across the Allt Coire Laoigh OK, but forgot about the smaller Allt an Rund. I didn't spend enough time looking for a good crossing point and tried to step across via an unlikely looking red rock submerged under the water. The moment I put my weight on it, I slipped straight off and soaked my left foot.

Image
Ben Lui from Cononish track by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

K2 from Concordia:

Image
Ben Lui from Cononish track 2 by the pointless parasite, on Flickr

Image
Beinn Dubhcriag from Cononish by the pointless parasite, on Flickr
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Pointless Parasite
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Re: Caroline, No

Postby rockhopper » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:46 am

Nice set of photos - weather turned out quite a bit better than seemed likely earlier on despite the wind. Know the problem re. cold fingers as I have Reynaud's syndrome - I carry a spare pair just in case - cheers :)
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Re: Caroline, No

Postby ancancha » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:17 pm

Liquid / solid :lol: irony
Nice report and photos :clap:
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Re: Caroline, No

Postby Coop » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:00 pm

Was on Beinn chuirn just across from there today.( views amazing today)

Top tip number.......
Buy some elastic, cut it to the size of your wrists, sew onto the inside of your glove.
Learnt that the hard way as well. Now I'll take the glove(s) off and let them dangle anytime I need without fear of losing them ( touch wood)

Great report cheers
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Re: Caroline, No

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:55 pm

It's so brilliant when the weather's like this - wonderful. I did this lot early last year in similar weather, a memory that is still very live in me.

Some great pics here - the one of Nanga Parbat. That was one of the hills I somehow overlooked when I was up there...
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Re: Caroline, No

Postby Graeme D » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:49 pm

Wonderful report! 8)
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